SHI had just regained consciousness. My car had taken a beating. My daughter was missing. I was all alone in a village shrouded by a dense fog. By my parental instinct, I slowly made my way through the mist until I found an alleyway with a conspicuous bloodstain on the wall.

There, I caught a glimpse of my daughter, so I continued through this dark alley until I came upon a mangled corpse. Before I could turn around, I was surrounded by miniature demons, and what happened next, I could not recall.

I, Harry Mason, woke up in a diner in this seemingly vacant town, where I was greeted by a female police officer named Cybil. After describing how she had entered Silent Hill, she handed me a pistol and set off to find backup. Before leaving the diner myself, I picked up a radio that emitted nothing but static.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EN-_1OGtUY 425×25]

Suddenly, a winged demon burst through the window, which I managed to debilitate with a few rounds from my newly obtained pistol. It was then that I knew I hadn’t imagined what happened previously, and I decided that recovering my daughter Cheryl would be my first priority.

 

 

SH

While searching for my daughter, I encountered all sorts of unspeakable horrors. I noticed that the town of Silent Hill was perpetually shrouded by a dense fog, and there were mysterious chasms at street intersections, which forced me to take other routes.

During my time in this vacant town, I entered abandoned houses, journeyed through a creepy school, traveled to a hospital that was home to horrifying experiments, and entered a dark, eerie church. There were other sinister environments I encountered, but these alone were enough to terrify any horror flick veteran.

SH

Each environment I traversed was home to all sorts of mutated creatures — ranging from demon babies to bloody nurses. These repulsive creatures managed to surprise me no matter how many classrooms and basements I entered, but what was even more horrifying was when the environments I entered transformed into what appeared to be Hell itself.

This alternate Silent Hill that resulted from an unknown cause turned a network of empty classrooms into a hellish dungeon full of barbed wire fences and mutilated corpses. These rooms full of blood and murky colors were terrifying from a visual standpoint alone, but the creepy sounds I heard were enough to make a grown man wet his pants.

SH

The sounds of Silent Hill’s alternate world were truly dark, horrific sounds that would likely accompany the world’s most gruesome torture chambers. These ominous sounds warned of a darkness that would eventually envelope the town of Silent Hill.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFRVlzfPwgc&feature=related 425×25]

While in these torturous labyrinths, I had access to handy maps that played an important role in my survival. These maps were obtained by touching charts hanging on the walls of buildings I frequented. They were not only useful in marking my location, but these maps also kept track of what doors I’d previously entered, and which were locked. Solving difficult riddles and tracking down items that were necessary to open new areas was difficult enough on its own, so it was helpful having a map that could remind me where I needed to go.

SH

Silent Hill’s annoying puzzles taunted me, but I had an enjoyable time battling and escaping its denizens. The demons I’d encounter could usually be quelled by pistol and shotgun blasts, but occasionally, I relied on other less conventional close combat weapons. Fortunately, I’m a fairly agile individual when compared to another Survival Horror hero named Chris Redfield, so I was able to take out pursuing demons with ease. The bosses I encountered at the ends of dungeons weren’t the most exciting (I mean come on, lizards and moths?), but at least fighting wasn’t usually a chore and ammo was plentiful.

The best part of my journey into Silent Hill, however, was the open-ended story I’d become a part of. Silent Hill’s tale is quite complex and draws heavily on a variety of horror films and novels, but it has enough unique elements to stand on its own. The plot I was a part of is so complex and interesting that your average individual will likely want to research plot summaries and theories after experiencing my adventure.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0m7dit1qtM&feature=related 425×25]

SH

My adventure in Silent Hill included so many mysterious characters and possibilities that it would be difficult for anyone to figure everything out during a single play-through. Multiple endings add to the mystery surrounding my quest, and figuring out what Silent Hill really is for yourself is part of the charm.

SH

The actual game world I’m a part of is dated visually, but it’s still one of the most atmospheric adventures you’ll experience due to its thick fog, visuals nuances, and horrifying sound effects. Accompanying my journey’s frightening sound effects is wonderful music and competent voice acting, which is quite impressive considering this all occurred back in 1999.

For those who haven’t traveled through Silent Hill, I highly recommend experiencing my journey by downloading its recording for $6 on PSN. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever encounter another scary adventure with the plot depth of my experience in Silent Hill, so those who want to experience a story full of thrilling moments without risking their own life should grab a flashlight, and begin journeying through the mist.

Score: 9.0

Pros:

  • Great use of fog without abusing it like a certain kryptonite-fearing hero’s game
  • Excellent, open-ended narrative that holds up eleven years later
  • Horrifying sound effects that are surprisingly good for a PlayStation title
  • Interesting characters accompanied by competent voice acting
  • Helpful in-game maps

Cons:

  • Dated visuals
  • Controls take awhile to get used to, but they’re superior to Resident Evil’s
  • A few riddles will likely require a FAQ