For some reason, I did not hear about the debut of the Silent Hill game in 1999. Sure I've heard of Resident Evil, even own the game but never SH. I'd remember going to Gamestop some years back and seen many Playstation games. Since I like my games rated Mature, first the rating caught my eye then I read the synopsis about the game. I was quickly drawn into it, since it sounded mysterious yet scary. Not hesitating I bought the game.
Background: Harry Mason and his adopted daughter Cheryl goes on a summer vacation to a town name Silent Hill. It's dark and on his way to there, he sees a police motorcycle on the side of the road. Afterwards a figure of a young girl suddenly appears in front of his Jeep and Harry swerves to avoid hitting the person and everything goes blank. A few moments later, Harry awakens from being unconscious for awhile and suddenly realizes his daughter's disappearance. He goes on the search to look for her and finds himself in an unknown area that is deserted; the sky is foggy and snowy which is unusual for the season. The area which he enters is Silent Hill...
Gameplay: Silent Hill is an adventure game as you look for clues and puzzles that are left behind as you search for Cheryl. The atmosphere of your surroundings is dark, gloomy and scary as on your journey, you'll defend yourself from odd creatures, zombies and animals. Weapons to use can be a knife, gun, shotgun, rifle or an axe. The clues left behind will lead you to a school, hospital, motel, lighthouse and sewer. If you think you are safe and sound in these places, think again. More dangerous enemies awaits you and when you're well into the school and hospital, there are a sudden change as things turn alternately to a whole different place that will make the little hairs in the back of your neck stand up in place.
But you are not entirely alone in Silent Hill, along the way you meet three survivors in this odd place, a mysterious woman named Delilah Gillespie who often speaks in a puzzling matter, a doctor who recently awakens to only find himself completely alone in a now deserted hospital and a nurse who gives Harry a background story on the town's history. Aside from searching for Cheryl, secrets unraveled as Harry finds out shocking information that what he never knew about the town and its people.
There are five different endings to Silent Hill from extremely good to extremely bad. The way the game ends can determine which character you save or doesn't save. Finding out the ending makes for a great replay.
What I like about Silent Hill the most is you must use your brain when there are puzzles that can be hard to solve yet can leave you frustrated. Thankfully there are writings left behind in books or on the wall that will give you a hint to solve a puzzle. The uncertainty of the game itself is amazing because you don't who or what you will run across in your strange experience in the town.
Graphics: The graphics can be forgiven since we are talking about the 90s when most games didn't look their best and it was the first time Silent Hill as ever created. And it is a good thing video games have came a long way in term of looks. It's been said that the fog in the game were to hide the many imperfect details of the buildings and the characters. But the scenery is dead on of a place that is isolated, dim and will draw fear to anyone who enters the town.
Sound: The music is in a class all by itself. In fact, it makes the game and tells on its own what Silent Hill represents--creepiness. Sometime you will hear a sound or a voice out of nowhere while walking in an abandoned school or hospital all alone. And you know it wasn't you, so you wonder what it is?
Characters in the game bring lack of depth in their voice and often come across as awful and not convincing enough. Especially from Harry and another character. I expected much better in a game like this and wanted their voices to sound alarming since the situation they are in is frightening.
All in all to sum up Silent Hill is the intensity it creates in a nightmarish world you never intended to enter. If you love horror games like me, without a doubt this one is for you.