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Average score: 87% (based on 34 ratings)
Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 185 ratings with 15 reviews)
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
What truly makes Silent Hill a great horror game is that it's a very intelligently designed game. 1999, Console-land. Thanks to a little thing called Resident Evil the survival/horror genre is the next big thing, and everyone is making their own version of it, with names like Squaresoft, Sega and SNK all putting out their own brand of Resident Evil clones. Thus Konami decides to try their hand at the new hot game only they made the right thing and didn't copycat Capcom's formula and instead cooked up their own radically different version of the game, enter Silent Hill. From the get go you realize the game is something different, it doesn't open with a fastpaced action sequence showcasing the game's horrors, instead it starts with a relatively slow-paced clip made from FMV sequences out of the game with a weird folky tune going on in the background, obviously this is going to be a different story.
The storyline of Silent Hill has been object to much debate and widely and (to my understanding) wrongly considered as "da best thing eva" by many fanboys, but without going into that for the moment it is true that it has touches and ideas of pure sheer genius...Or actually, it's not genius at all, it's just common sense! I mean, doesn't the idea of an unexplained supernatural situation happening to an average joe strike you as more disturbing than a commando team facing hordes of science-born nightmares? Horror movies have realised that for eons and every now and then a videogame does so to. Thus the protagonist of Silent Hill isn't some twenty-something supermodel with designer clothes out to kick butt and take names. Instead he's Harry Mason, an average widower with a young daughter that makes the fateful decision of taking a vacation to the far-off town of Silent Hill, (which joins such lovely places as Hobb's End, Red Hook, Innsmouth, Dunwich, Raccon City, Amityville and the Bates Motel in the elite group of top vacation spots for the summer vacations). Anyway, the shit hits the fan from the get-go as Harry gets involved in some weird-ass road accident (that never gets really explained) and faintly sees his daugher Cheryl dissapearing into the misty town. From that point on it's a downspiral ride into madness as Harry goes out looking for his daughter (a powerful and frankly much more moving objective than most videogames of these type usually use) and finds out that there is something terribly wrong with the town. In what will go down in history as one of the best introductory sequences to any game ever, Harry loses track of his daughter and after a nightmarish sequence awakens in a cafeteria facing a female police officer, Cybill, who informs him the town is strangely deserted and that there are some "weird things" lurking about.
As Harry explores the world of Silent Hill you are treated to the many smart ideas that make SH so unique in the world of survival/horror games. For starters the game lets go of the pre-rendered backgrounds and instead uses an entirely polygonal engine, which allows for a typical Tomb Raiderish 3rd person perspective pov, as well as the oddly-angled fixed camera views that have become a staple of the genre, but with the new addition of wild dynamic camera moves that pan, dolly and track your character as he explores around maximizing it's already creepy effectiveness (watch the overhead tracking shot in the intro sequence to see just what the fully 3D engine brought to the game). The detail in the enviroment is pretty solid, with plenty of urban landmarks rendered and depicted in real time, but I can hear you say "Hey, this is a psx game! What's the catch?" Well, the obvious catch is that the game has a draw distance of about 10 feet when on outdoor areas, but this little drawback is actually worked around, and the design of the game actually builds upon it as a means of increasing the horror! Draw distance? Let's add a perpetual snowfall to it and make it a claustrophobic element of gameplay!! Indeed, the game uses it's foggy landscape to really bring to life (or death actually) the deserted town of Silent Hill, as you have to explore every location up close and personal and don't get to see from were the threats come until you have them all over you... That is, unless you use the Radio! What's that you say? Another touch of genius.
As you find out in the opening sequence, the many monsters that haunt Silent Hill share a common link, they apparently all emit some sort of radio signal that causes static to spout from your handheld portable radio. What does that mean? That the game incorporates into it's already stellar design the aureal dimension, as it includes the radio's alternating static bursts as the means for you to avoid what dangers lurk around. And avoid them you'll want to! In another stellar choice, Konami continued the idea behind Harry as an average Joe and thus gave him all the combat prowess of a two-year old, with an endurance that's just as fickle and an arsenal composed mostly of melee weapons that he can barely use. Watching Harry waste all his bullets on an enemy that's 5 feet away and having to resort to his awkward skills at handling a wooden plank (complete with perfectly animated sluggish moves) is an all too common experience in Silent Hill if you don't learn that the best way to defeat the monsters is to just run the fuck away from them...
And just were do you run to? To a collection of common locations such as schools, abandoned houses and "The Hospital from Hell (Tm)" (which would become a landmark in the series) to explore and follow clues that lead to the whereabouts of Cheryl. In these indoors areas SH plays much like your average RE Clone, with you having to collect and manage different items that hold the key to solving some puzzles that occasionally pop up. The difference here is that the puzzles include some really brainy challenges (like the now infamous piano puzzle in the school's music classroom) that seem more fit for a hardcore PC adventure game than the usual yawn-inducing kiddie crap these games come loaded with.
As you progress through the game you'll come into contact with more survivors (that usually trigger fantastically animated CGI cutscenes) and unfortunately uncover (more on that later) a larger plot that involves demonic summonings and medical corruption. As the plot dwelves deeper into H.P. Lovecraft territory, you'll have your encounter with the other big feature in Silent Hill: Dark Silent Hill. Via scripted events your character will eventually find out that the rules of reality don't hold true anymore for Silent Hill, and a shifting process starts to take place towards a darker, much more disturbing reality. A chilling sound cue will occur, and suddenly Whammo! The foggy, eternally snowy town of Silent Hill transforms into a really, really dark hellhole filled with rusty metal plates, chains and grates, and with radically different layouts for most locations. In other words: Silent Hill turns into Clive Barker-Land!!! Complete with grating metallic audio cues and a more thumping, yet utterly disturbing, soundtrack. Yes, location shifting isn't exactly a novelty and games like Soul Reaver already featured it (and did it much better if you ask me), but the feature is perfectly integrated into the game throwing the visibility to the crapper and forcing you to rely on a wimpy pocket light that helps provide even more scares (not to mention atract really unwanted attention).
All that plus excellent scripted sequences like the intro or a certain locker make for a fantastic horror experience and one of the most intense games ever.
Silent Hill is a great game, and rightly regarded as so by everyone. But this...should I say "prestige" that comes from it being a wildly innovative and far more serious title than most in the genre clouds the views of many and apparently makes them blind to what are obvious (and rather annoying) flaws.
For starters Yes, there are a bunch of good and rather challenging puzzles, but unfortunately they are lost in a sea of the same mundane and idiotic puzzles that can be found since the days of Resident Evil 1. Silent Hill may be the "perfect game" for those that like to fill their mouth with crap about how the RE series is the most idiotic thing in the face of the earth and how Silent Hill is only for gamers with brains, but you know what? There is just as much Crest-collecting and key hunting in Silent Hill as there is in Resident Evil, with idiotic situations like having to collect the crests of the moon, sun, stars, etc. and getting the magic coins of the proud wompbat of darkness or whatever to open the clock tower in the school... (which is in particular a quite ludicrous location, with many illogical puzzles like locking doors based on a clock's time [What, they could only go to class at a certain moment of the day?], etc.)... Similarly, while most people like to wax about just how original SH is, I'd like to point at the wildly NON-original creatures that populate the game, after all, just how many times are we suppose to get scared by zombie dogs?? And oh yeah, generically gnawed-upon creatures and giant insects.... man, c'mon!! The freaking baby monster and the nurses (which were the only ones to come back for SH2) are about the only creatures that stand out from the rest of generic skinless clones. Just think that at the time Resident Evil 2 had been around for a while complete with it's "lickers" and assorted skinless creatures...
Furthermore, I may have been using his name as a passing comparison when I mentioned Clive Barker over there, but if you think about it there's a lot of stuff that just borders on the plain plagiarism by Konami. I mean, both Barker and Silent Hill draw heavily on the writings of Lovecraft, with their blend of occult, alternate realities and general nastyness, but there are some elements like the rusting metal grates, the mutilation-S&M connections, the doctors, the carnival sequence.... heck even the "Flauros" is a triangular version of Hellraiser's channeling cube...man, either Barker sues or we get to see a cameo of Pinhead on Silent Hill 4!
Finally I like to add my grain of sand to what I think is one of the most overhyped issues behind Silent Hill: It's story.
What? Am I stoned? Didn't I just wrote up there how good it was? Besides doesn't everybody know that Silent Hill's story is the best thing ever and ever? No. The story in Silent Hill is great and all, it starts out as a haunting supernatural nightmare, BUT perhaps losing to the pressures of it's competition it attempted to add all sorts of unnecesary crap to capture the same chaotic twisty feeling you get on, say.... Resident Evil and it's corporate conspiracies and backstabbing. Thus you have an unnecesary sideplot regarding a rather shady doctor and an experimental drug jammed into the Harry/Cheryl story and also a cooky prophecy-related sideplot that involves a long deceased girl and a resurrecting demon... Which is actually rather good and interesting (and relates to Cheryl in an interesting way), but unfortunately when injected forcefully into the game along the other 2 main plots you have a complete mess that only works because of the "naked emperor syndrome". Since the overall story is so convoluted and unfocused everybody just files it under "ahh... it must be that it really is a complex masterpiece beyond my comprehension..." instead of just assuming their ignorance. But don't feel so bad my friend! There is no reason to blame your brainpower! The story is just a convoluted mess that tries to win by brute force what it should do by subtlety (as the superb storyline of SH2 did). There is no hidden simbolism, no clever plot twists, just lots of overambitious ideas all fighting among themselves for the top spot, intentional omitions and GLARING plot holes. Those later a product of the lack of direction (The only thing that seems to drive Harry to do things beside Cheryl is the fact that there are big cracks all around town that he can't bypass...) and more often than not just product of contradictions and general lack of coherence. For instance: "Hi! I'm a cop, and I am going to give you, a perfect stranger, (who somehow is the only person I found alive in all this mess) my gun and just leave and rejoin you sometime in the near future even though there are supernatural freaks out there hunting for us all, that ok by you?" Riiiiight..... Every character in this game seems to have those perfectly logical reactions, I mean, picture yourself in this situation: you are lost in hell-town, with all those RE-reject monsters at your tail and you just found the only human being you've seen in hours... What do you do? Do you greet him as if sedated, only making vague inquiries about the situation at hand and then wave him goodbye as each of you leave to follow your own paths?? Yep, that makes perfect dramatic sense doesn't it? Every character interaction in the game is like that, with a few key exceptions and only because the plot dictates it so, and that just makes more obvious just how ridiculously overcomplicated the whole thing is, leaving little room for much, MUCH needed character development. Really, can anybody out there tell me that they really felt Dr. Kauffman and the nurse babe added anything significant to the game plot-wise? How about Dahlia? Yes, she's important, but would it have made any change at all if her character's dialogues had been documented information? Doesn't is strike you as if every character is just like a cardboard cutout reading off a script that they don't seem to understand in any way?? The whole thing is just so "wrong" that I wondered if it was intentional, the whole lack of authenticity and dramatic "glue" makes the whole experience feel extremely theatrical (as in live-staged theatre, not motion pictures) with characters that talk as in trance and assorted oddities that contradict any scripting sense, but even if we consider it a stylistic choice it's just plain bad storytelling man.
Before going on I'd like to point out that the story is still good overall and probably better than most RE-soap operas in it's challenging posture, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let another fanboy scream about how "Silent Hill has the best story ever and ever and ever!!! Nope. Not by a long shot.
Finally there are technical issues still at hand, the use of a fully polygonal engine regardless of the care taken by Konami still falls to the technical pitfalls of the PSX, meaning you have horribly pixellated graphics with distorting textures and all sort of clipping and artifacts. While the sound design in the game is phenomenal the dialogue is horribly written and incoherent (which takes us back to the above paragraphs) but worse than that is the fact that it's also badly acted (everybody in the game is liikeee soooooo seedaaaaateeeeed duuuuuudeeee) and it appears to be fractioned in individual phrases with quite long load times that make each conversation pause and delay as if the characters were talking through a phone on an international call. Control is also very love-or-hate.
The Bottom Line
While not without it's itty bity shortcomings... uh, well actually glaring gigantic flaws, Silent Hill's use of innovative design and horror scripting allowed it to carve itself a place in videogame history as one of the best horror games ever conceived. Translation: Classic, buy it.
Just don't buy into the fanboy hype and you'll be able to enjoy one of the most interesting console games ever made.
PlayStation · by Zovni (10503) · 2003
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
I'm a PC owner, and a PC player. Unlike some people out there, I stick to my PC and I was NEVER interested in getting a console, don't have the money nor the will to do it. Plus, as any human being who is more than 15 years old as of June 2003, I didn't develop these 15-inch twice-articulated thumbs people seem to have nowadays, thus I choose my good old keyboard over any console controller any day of the week. Hell, I grew up by a Sinclair's ZX Spectrum +, which makes it even worse as even the mouse was kinda weird for me at a time.
I liked Survival/Horror games when they first came out -AND IT WAS NOT IN 1996 WITH THAT RESIDENT EVIL CRAP, IT WAS LIKE 3 YEARS BEFORE AND THE GAME WAS CALLED ALONE IN THE DARK!!!-, yet the more I growed as a PC-player, the more I got used to the keyboard/mouse combo (too much FPSs and adventure games).
This would eventually make full-keyboard controlled games (namely, Survival/Horror games) pretty hard for me to get used to. The inabilty to have features such as "free look" kills me. The mouse is a must for me today. Not being able to use it to look around makes me feel kind of claustrophobic. Or like I'm controlling some badly handicaped character.
So, this was pretty much my videogaming life, until one day I stumbled upon Silent Hill 2. God how I LOVED that game. Well I won't extend about it here -you can go ahead and read my REVIEW if you want to know how much I liked it- but I will say this: I liked the story so much, that I was compelled to play the first game no matter what.
I found out SH was only a PSX game which didn't make it to any other platform, so guess what? I GOT A PSX JUST TO PLAY SILENT HILL.
To the moment, it is the only PSX game I own, and it will most likely remain like that for the time being.
So, all this rant is meant to explain the fact that I might be too hard on some technical aspects, since I come from a DirectX 8.1 class PC, and don't know the exact limitations of PSX. Furthermore, I'll be comparing Silent Hill to its sequel, which will of course sound quite anachronic.
OK, on to the review.
I got to go easy on THE GRAPHICS, since as I said I don't know how close to the PSX limits these are.
The graphics resemble to DirectX 6 class games, wich means pretty little polygons per character, crappy lighting effects, and very low resolution textures.
Nevertheless, from a designer point of view I think they look great. The first monsters you come to find look kinda silly, but I believe they are inteded to, as you will probably understand near the end, when you get in Alessa's childhood bedroom. Plus, they looking silly makes up for a strong contrast with the "alternate" version of them you will find in Dark Silent Hill (more on this later).
The town is depicted to every little detail, making it look very realistic. The different scenarios are stuffed with small freaky details, which will add a lot to the atmosphere. In the videogaming community there is somewhat an arguement about the mist that covers the town, whether is there to help the game rendering or just to add to the atmosphere: well whatever the truth is, it works great for the atmosphere. So, end of discussion.
Also the camera not only swaps between different static angles as in classic Horror/Survival games, but every angle has real time motion on its own. Sometimes the camera will make weird pannings that work out as a really dramatic effect.
There is one option by which we can position the camera behind the character's back (similar to a FPS game) which helps clear any problem the "weird angles" may create. In this regard, Silent Hill 2 really sucks, as the camera sometimes will hide the enemies, and more often than not will take forever to re-position in a convenient place. So, in this regard, I got to say the first Silent Hill is WAY better than the sequel, in spite of the technological superiority of the later.
THE SOUND is simply amazing. It is hard to say if it is the music or the sound effects, since they are both pretty much the same, it is not exactly music, but at times it has too much "rythm" to be just noise. This "soundscape" has often been compared to the work of Angelo Badalamenti for the likes of the TV series Twin Peaks or the movie Lost Highway, and I think is the best description someone could possibly make.
One thing you can be sure about: the soundscape is eerie, and enhaces the atmosphere of the game greatly.
Furthermore, every now and then, there will be "random" noises that go off all of a sudden and will make you jump off your seat.
No other game came closer to Silent Hill in this area, and the ones which made an attemp, pretty much failed (like Alone in the Dark IV and even Silent Hill 2).
But the technical aspects alone won't make any justice to the game. IS THE STORY of the Silent Hill saga the main thing that set these games apart from any other title of the genre. There might be eternal discussions about which one has the best graphics, the best control interface, or even the best sound, but the story in Silent Hill is WAY superior to ANY other survival/horror game.
The best thing about it is that the greatness lies not only in the storyline itself —which is STUFFED with twists, secrets, and all kind of nasty surprises— but it goes much further, turning the whole gaming into a unique immersive experience that is pretty difficult to put in words.
Harry Mason is driving his car towards Silent Hill, a quiet tourist resort. By his side Cheryl, his 7 year old daughter, sleeps. A female cop passes by the car on a motorbike and they exchange looks. Further ahead, Harry sees the bike crashed on the side of the road, the cop missing. As he raises his eyes, he gets to see a girl standing in the middle of the road; Harry quickly maneuvres to avoid hitting her, and the car crashes. When Harry awakes, he finds Cheryl's missing. As he steps out of the wrecked car, he finds out the town is indeed silent. As if it was empty. There's a dense mist that won't let him see more than 20 ft ahead. Softly but consistent, a light snow falls. Without even thinking about how strange that is, being summertime, Harry runs after a silouhette that looks just like his daughter, ending up in a long alleyway. As he moves on, it seems like night falls quickly. Behind one corner, Harry finds a wheelchair. Behind another corner, Harry finds a hospital bed with a body, covered by a blood-stained sheet. One more corner ahead, Harry find what seems to be a crucified human body, the skin peeled out. Harry turns over, and three small children holding knives stumble towards him, stabbing him to death.
Harry wakes up in a dinner. Cheryl's not there, but the female cop is. Outside, it's still snowing.
From this moment on, the game grips you by the troath and won't let go until you find out what is happening in this town, where is Cheryl and why does she seem to run away from her father every time they meet.
Harry is not your typical videogame super-hero a la Resident Evil, who happens to find a rocket launcher lying around and just starts blasting off the evil zombies and ghouls ( that, BTW, also have rocket launchers ??? ).
Harry is a family man, a regular guy who lost his wife and now refuses to lose his daughter to a nightmare of a town. The man is determined and brave, but doesn't even know how to hold a gun. He is trapped, clueless, in a story that goes beyond his possible understanding.
Silent Hill is not the quiet tourist resort Harry thought. Eerie and deserted —except for the nightmarish creatures and a couple of persons who are as struck as Harry, if not as twisted as the beasts—, Silent Hill has yet another face to make things even worse.
The town with the mist and the creatures lurking in it makes up for a pretty opressive atmosphere that will have your nerves going on; but at some points Misty Silent Hill will "shift" into Dark Silent Hill. Here, you get to re-visit some of the places you have already been to, but everything is changed: rain pours instead of the snow, there is a gripping darkness instead of the mist, and all the walls and decorations turn into rusty blood-stained metal, with hanging chains, cuffs, hooks, human-body sized cages, and other elements that make you think about medieval torture chambers. As you move on throughout the game, every time you get back into Dark Silent Hill it seems to get even worse, until even the monsters get "reversed" and more twisted than they were, and the streets are replaced by rusty grating over bottomless pits.
After spending some minutes in Dark Silent Hill you will actually be GLAD every time you get to go back to the —also eerie and twisted!— Misty Silent Hill, and that is an incredible achievement from the producers of the game, it's the most smart mindjob I've been put to by a videogame.
Also, and this is something a lot of people actually HATED, don't expect the ending to be an easy to digest, tell-all, conclusive ending. By the time you beat the game, you might be left with more questions than when you started, feeling the need to play it all over again, in order to get things straight.
Furthermore, there are four possible endings, depending on some choices you get to make in a couple of moments of the game.
In that regard, the game offers a great deal of REPLAYABILITY. Not only because of the four different endings, but every time you restart you will find a load of bonus weapons and hidden features, according to how you played the game the last time.
There is even a fifth secret ending, some kind of easter egg meant as a sick joke from the programmers.
OK, now the sad part.
I totally HATE the CONTROL INTERFACE. This is the damnation of the Survival/Horror genre, and apparently there's not much to do about it, some people even like it, which surely goes beyond me, but as I already said, a game in which I can't "free look" around makes me sick with claustrophobia. If a monster happens to throw itself at your feet, you are pretty much screwed, and need to back up quickly as Harry can't look down or crouch.
As other titles of the genre, Silent Hill gives us a lame excuse for a "strafe" move which is two steps from totally useless, and that is the best control feature we have in action sequences. Because of this, I found myself running away from as much fighting situations as possible, and the boss fights were pretty much an excercise in the shoot-heal-shoot-heal-shoot-heal technique, as trying to avoid attacks would make me get more damage than just standing still.
The GRAPHICS need some work around, specially the human characters. They don't look good. As I said, I don't know how much better the PSX can get, but I do believe a Tomb-Raider-level is achievable, and TR's characters look much better than SH's. Dr Kaufmann is horribly drawn. So is Harry, the main character.
As good as I think the fact that the hero is more of an anti-hero without any of those cliches so common in videogames is; sometimes they take it way over the line. Take for example the way Harry runs. He looks plain silly, one would think his feet weigh a couple tons or something. Even worse is the way he holds some of the weapons. OH MY GOD! When I saw Harry holding the pipe, I just rushed to holster it and never took it out again! He looks so STUPID I was afraid the monsters would just laugh at me! Same goes for the way he holds any of the melee weapons.
As good as the moving camera is, there is something wrong with it. I don't know exactly what is it, just most times when the camera moves, the textures seem to flicker very badly. Looks like the whole scene is made out of cardboard, and moving it is about to break it all. I'm pretty positive this didn't happen in Tomb Raider.
The VOICE ACTING sucks. So much so, it manages to throw some otherwise very intense moments off board just like that. This is terrible, since even one of the game endings gets pretty screwed up by this. Specially the guy playing Harry (the main character, almost nothing) should be better off doing the dishes at some small town dinner or something. The guy sounds so calmed and washed out he can't possibly have a soul.
Furthermore, there is a small half-second pause between spoken sentences that doesn't make any sense. I suppose it is the game loading the next line, but it often pauses right in the middle of some fast-paced dialogue or in the middle of some maniac rant from an inspired character, and looks like the actor forgot his line, and is checking down the script.
The Bottom Line
The best horror game ever. Period.
I'm a PC player, but I got a Playstation only to play Silent Hill.
The game has the best atmosphere I experimented in any videogame, and it actually surpasses a lot of movies. It's got even better atmosphere than its own technically-almost-perfect sequel.
If we think about how limited the game is in the technical aspect, one must stand up and applaude Konami for a great job. Silent Hill is a masterpiece.
The game will send the creeps all over you all the time. You won't believe you are just playing a game, and even less you will believe that a so technically outdated game can have that effect on you. The soundscape keeps the atmosphere going on. The twists in the plot confuse you more and more by the minute. Every now and then something will suddenly come up, making you jump off your seat like a good old-school horror movie. Every now and then, reality will be transfixed into something wicked, where nothing is what it seems. At one point you will face a huge creature resembling a lizard. You need it to open its mouth, so you shoot it in order to get it mad. Then it starts making noises and you get ready because this is it. Then you freeze when, instead of opening a mouth like you would expect, the lizard's head splits in half, opening its huge jaws side to side.
Please take note that Horror/Survival is a pretty confusing genre, and there are different opinions on WHAT exactly Horror/Survival means.
If you think Horror/Survival is best defined by Capcom games (Resident Evil, Dino Crisis) then you might find Silent Hill too slow and confusing.
On the other hand, if you think Capcom leans too much towards the "action" side of the street, and those games are not as scary as you would like (plus I think their storylines sucks), then join us in the Silent Hill side. Personally, I think THIS is how you make a horror game.
PlayStation · by Slug Camargo (583) · 2003
Silent Hill is truly disturbing. From the get go you are bombarded with horrific imagery like strung up corpses and half skinned dog carcases, this disturbing nature however is offset by the raw humanity conveyed by the characters in the game from Harry's ceaseless searching for his daughter to the sheer loneliness, isolation and despair felt by Lisa. The game itself is vast, you explore several districts of Silent Hill including one part of the game that is completely optional yet no less expansive. Weapon wise Harry can wield pipes, knives, axes, shotguns, rifles and chainsaws in his quest to find his missing daughter, an odd pick up you can find actually makes you pretty much invincible for a short period of time. Enemies are disturbing (obviously) one resembles a gorilla with it's skin pulled tight over it's body, another is a small child with razors for fingers - this sounds like a Clive Barker game but believe me it's not. For all of the blood and guts and chainsaws Silent Hill never looses it's sense of purpose, it never leads you off into corners you don't need to go to and you always know where you have to go thanks to the ingenious map which Harry draws on as he finds blocked or locked doors or impassable areas. Finally the soundtrack is simply amazing. Akira Yamaoka has struck a perfect balance between surreal, unsettling and frightening and tender, relaxed and calm tracks. Some tracks make you want to cry, others almost put you to sleep and other terrify you but they are all works of art.
Very little in this game can be considered bad. At times some individuals may find the constant adventuring a tad tedious, others criticize the fog present in the game and at times the acting can be considered a little lame.
The Bottom Line
Silent Hill is the epitome of horror. It screws with your mind and makes you go to places you never thought of going to, the gameplay superb, character designs are excellent and the music is just so well dichotomised words cannot describe it. If you are a fan of Survival Horror and you have been avoiding Silent Hill then shame on you but it is still out there, I suggest you find it and savour the fear.
PlayStation · by AxelStone (34) · 2008
Well the games story line is great! This game is just creepy..no doubt about it. I saw videos of it on the internet and thought to myself that the game doesn't look scary. But man,was I wrong! The games voice acting is alright. Its better than the Resident Evil voice acting! The games lighting add on to the creepiness of the game. This game made me jump because some stuff I didn't expect happens. The game is full with scary demon dogs and these weird bats. You have a radio that detects when something is around you,in my opinion that's creepy!!! Then at times the whole games goes dark and the only thing that helps is your flash light! This is by far one of the scariest games I've played but there are some flaws...
The games puzzles are hard! They're harder than the Resident Evil puzzles!!! Players will find themselves running in circles,going into the same houses over and over again,and more. the controls are clumsy. The character doesn't stop moving when you take your hands of the D-pad. Thus your character will run into walls or walk off ledges when you don't want him too. Konami has made some good games but this game is kinda rushed. The graphics are terrible and the environment is pathetic. The characters are blocky and the game is quite hard.
The Bottom Line
Well to put it in short: Konami tried to re-create a new Resident Evil but Failed. Silent Hill is scary and made me jump and has high points of terror. So overall this game would pleasure any player who likes horror games. But be aware, You must have patience with this game.
PlayStation · by TwoDividedByZero (114) · 2010
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 (473496) · 2014
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.
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.
PlayStation · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006
Silent Hill is a game that has more of a focus on psychological horror than the action horror that the Resident Evil series have dominated.It forces you to think more than on any other survival horror game.It also has the best storyline out of all the survival horror.You play Harry Mason,a man who just wants to take a nice long vacation with his daughter.Unfortunately,you crash and when you wake up,your daughters gone.That's just the basic storyline.If you go in just knowing that,you're going to be terrified.If you go in knowing more,there'll be less tension.
Another plus is the contols sytem,that works great for the 3D enviroments.The camera never gets in the way and you're always able to see behind and in front of you with just a push of a button.There's still some problems with it,but it works fine enough to look right through them.
The main thing was the save system.It uses the same one where you can only save in select spots.This doesn't really work in this game because it's a pretty big enviroment and only a select few places to save,so you end up playing longer than you wanted to.Another problem is with the voice acting.While the music and sound effects are excellent,the voices are done poorly for a game of this calbire.
The Bottom Line
Silent Hill is a tension filled trip through a little town full of horror and surprises.Expect everything in this game because anything can happen in Silent Hill...
PlayStation · by SamandMax (75) · 2001
I really tend to go for games with good story lines, and this one is no exception. It definitely is not one of those scooby doo-like mysteries where everything is solved and all taken care of in the end. I still cannot exactly figure out what the hell happened here. I definitely can't believe that the ending I've seen- even though it is called the "Good +" ending, is really as complete as it gets. Email me if you want to know what I think I have figured out. Also, the lighting effects are superb. You can even change what color the blood is. I love that feature. Also, the game is replayable because of a feature called "Next Fear mode", which is kind of like "New game+" in chrono trigger. It becomes available after you beat the game. You start the game over, only with a higher difficulty level and there are secret items available, like the chainsaw, the rock drill the katana, the channeling stone and, if you're really good, the hyper blaster. Very good stuff.
Too short. WAY too short. I can beat it on easy mode inside of 3 hours. And I keep running out of handgun bullets...
The Bottom Line
If you thought the X-files movie was too hard to comprehend, then this game is like... dude. You play as a tourist who got in a car crash and awoke to find his daughter missing. The town is completely desserted, save for a police officer from out of town and a couple of others who usually claim that they fell asleep and when they woke up, it was like this. In attempting to find your daughter, you encounter swarms of bizarre, nightmerish creatures and sometimes get teleported to what seems like a paralell universe where everything is totally sick and twisted and there are mutilated bodies everywhere. Horrifying, and yet... fun!
PlayStation · by Sam Tinianow (113) · 2001
It took me a year to finally agree to get Silent Hill 2 (I'm not much into any kinda horror, but when the story beats it to second place, I'm always in), but wanted to try out the original prior to immerse myself fully into the psychic twist of the second. Starting with a great pening, Silent Hill puts you in a story as swiftly as possible, due to a crash, your daughter Cherryl has gone missin'. Now you have to explore the dead town of Silent Hill following her traces, to unravel the mystery that lies in the finale, and background story between you and your daughter.
As this is Konami's first attempt to enter the world of horror-survival, they entered it in a style, making it a PSX game only, they achieved amazing graphical effects from that little console, and put creepy sounds and effects in main use of creating an atmosphere instead of music, which was in use mainly for opening and end credits. Alone in the Dark series created the genre using a mansion as a point of all conflicts, Resident Evil series recreated the genre employing more open fields and non-stop action in use, and Silent Hill added the real emphasis on the world 'horror' in this survival genre.
Like it goes with these games, they ain't as adventure to have many dialogues and characters, but use couple of them throughout the entire game, making a random appearance to upgrade the story. Characters in SH are as mysterious and unqieu as you may possibly want them (only surpassed by those in SH2 with their depths of backgorund exploration). Bottomline, this just starts as "father searching for his daughter" story and it unveils unto mystery and suspense to its utmost experience.
Sometimes, it was just begging me to turn off the console and take a break from all the suspense the game gave me. But it wasn't so psychical like in its sequel, it is just pure, normal, horrifying situation the game constantly gives you. Switching from reality filled with predatorian animals from hell to some alternate world filled with monsters and killer nurses. Yeah, this hospital in 'ere will kill ya. But hey, whoevere said what doesn't kill you makes you stronger ;)
This game simply took both words that define its genre way too seriously. In attempt to enter the world of horror-survival, they made one steap ahead and make it too real for players with a weak heart. So heed the warning.
And I never know wether to quality multiple ending in a game as plus or a minus. Sure, it extends replayablility level, but sure shortens the gameplay time. And frustrates if you achieve an ending that is not supposed to be original and must replay it again and know exactly what to do to achieve the right or desired one. No, multiple ending isn't a bad thing, but I can't see how it can be an entirely good thing either.
The Bottom Line
With Silent Hill Konami made their entrance into horror-survival genre and they've proven they can compete and even to surpass the fittest of its kind. Silent Hill is not just a horror game with no point like many out there. Silent Hill has the spirit which will keep you want for more, keep you under suspense 'til the very end. And while Silent Hill made their entrance, Silent Hill 2 placed Konami on top of the sole throne. I was intrigued by the second, and hence opened the gate to both worlds of SH, normal and alternate. And there's a thing I can say about it, some fears are worth experiencing.
PlayStation · by MAT (240188) · 2012
Egad, whatever you do, don't play this game alone! Not because it's scary as hell, but because you need someone to give you CPR when you have a sudden heart attack!
Seriously, most "horror" games rely on sudden surprises like Resident Evil. Silent Hill is like the movie Blair Witch Project (of which I haven't played), where the overall game itself is creepy...everything misty and mysterious...makes you wanna cuddle up somewhere warm with a lot of blankets. Yep, this is the type of game where even the audience needs a place to hide. Which is why I could barely continue with the game for more than several hours due to the lack of moral support and failing morale...turning down the volume didn't help either...
With beautiful cutscenes and detailed graphical background, this game has an A+ for graphics all the way...and dang those monsters are hard. Killer dogs, monster-like pterodactyls, how I managed the courage to play this game in the first place eludes me. A toy chicken has more guts than I do.
Anyway, I had to play the most difficult level (since I have my pride) and the fact someone told me the ending would be different...though that kinda backfired on me...
First thing's first, killer dogs I get, zombies I get, flying pterodactyls in the beginning of the story? Come on!? The story just begin, don't start with the weird stuff at the front, maybe in the middle of the story but certainly not the beginning! The beginning of the story is more or less a mystery which kinda hard to explain what the hell are pterodactyls flying around without a reason. Sequencing please!
So I'm playing the hardest level of difficulty, doesn't mean you have to be so dang cheap with the bullets...I'm cheap already shooting those bullets, don't be cheaper than the player! Do you know how many bullets it takes to kill those "stay-down-will-you-dang" monster dogs? It even takes more bullets to kill those baby-like monsters. What I'd give for an AK-47...
The Bottom Line
Unless your a horror fan, wussies like myself should get full audience backup (and a medkit).
PlayStation · by Indra was here (20767) · 2004
Silent Hill, released in early 1999, went unnoticed before its release with very little hype.However, when it was released, people started buying it. Now it stands as one of the playstation's greatest hits and personally, on my top 5 games of all time list.
Silent Hill is about a man named Harry Mason who is taking a vacation to Silent Hill with his daughter. A mysterious woman passes in front of his car and he drives off the road and gets knocked unconcious. When he wakes up, his daughter is gone. You must find out where she is and what happened to her.
Silent Hill has one of the greatest plot's in video game history. The story has plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing. There are no shortage of puzzles that will boggle your mind but will also keep you interested in the game. This game has the perfect mix of strategy, mystery, and action. Almost everything about this game is great. Konami created a horror masterpiece that will forever be remembered as the game that knocked the Resident Evil series off it's throne.
I loved everything. Nothing of this game was bad.
The Bottom Line
Final Score: 9.8/10
Truly one of the best games ever made. A masterpiece.
PlayStation · by Mike K (5) · 2005
I loved the spooky sound effects, and creepy lighting and darkness effects. I also loved the story of this game, very involving and deep really sucks a person into the plot of the game. I also liked the different and unique characters, very life like and had a certain life to them. I was on the edge of my seat through the entire game, and I just couldn't bring myself to shut it off.
I didn't like the voice acting, it seemed rather wooden and emotionless at times. Then again there were times when it was rather well done as well. But some of the main plot elements, which in my opinion required a great deal of skill in acting. Just didn't have the skill that it required in my opinion. I think that the producers of this game, could have worked much harder on the quality of the voice acting in this title.
The Bottom Line
Very frightening, I found myself leaving the lights on at night, while i played this game in my room. I found myself hearing strange noises in my house every night my first time through this game. It's a feast of fear and puzzle solving that I think everyone will appreciate. Now there maybe some that do not like games that have a great story and presentation. But even with those particular people, I think that even they can appreciate the beautiful lighting effects, and story presentation in this title.
PlayStation · by David Bryan (21) · 2007
Since I have beaten all of them, 1-4, I understand the story behind, and I love it. This game is the scariest game you will ever play. It makes Resident Evil 4 look like a game for babies.The graphics on the PlayStaTion add to the effect of the overall experiance, because everything looks so gruesome and just plain BAD that you can't tell what it is, and that makes it scary. Also, the music will adds to the experiance with ambient sound effects and cool piano and guitar tunes (but throughout the playing of the game, the music is creepy sounding.) I love the movie graphics and the out loud talking. I really don't care about weapons, but it has a lot for a game that you could beat in a day.
The fact that you have to have an audiance behind you to be able to turn the PlayStation on (at least I did.) I could not go to the bathroom for weeks after visiting the bathroom stall in the Elementary School. This game is a little too scary, even for 18+, even though I not even that old yet. Also, this game's puzzles kept me playing for hours. Especially the one in the dungeon of Nowhere.
The Bottom Line
The best Survival Horror game on the face of the earth. You havn't felt true fear until you have played this game.
PlayStation · by Zeke Cummings (2) · 2006
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by mikewwm8, Wizo, Big John WV, Mike G, Jeanne, Parf, Alsy, lights out party, nyccrg, Cavalary, sayewonn wisseh, Patrick Bregger, Gianluca Santilio, Crawly, jumpropeman, ryanbus84, ☺☺☺☺☺, vedder, Tim Janssen.