Silent Hill

Graphics: 4
Sound: 5
Control: 5
Depth: 5
Overall: 5

Silent Hill

By: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Published By: Konami
Released: 1999

Similar to Resident Evil, Silent Hill is a better horror game on almost every level. While the Resident Evil series is scary in a monster movie way, Silent Hill is disturbing psychologically – in a way that stays with you. And unlike Resident Evil, the supernatural is never fully explained in Silent Hill. As Harry Mason, you become stuck in a bizarre town and your daughter, Cheryl, is suddenly missing. As you look for clues, you’ll walk though fog and snow, fighting off monster dogs, winged beasts & other demons. Other than a police officer you meet early in the story, the town seems deserted.

Pushing the limits of the PlayStation, the graphics are all in real-time, and any pop-up is disguised by fog (or later by darkness). The visuals have a dithered quality, and are lacking the detail of more modern games, but frankly, you'll be glad for that lack of detail as the game becomes more disturbing.

The use of radio static and ringing alarms to alert you to monster proximity is both useful and frightening. The sound track is more controlled noise than music, yet matches the game perfectly. Voice acting is well done for the most part, but you can tell that the actors are reading one line at a time.

Gameplay is a good mix of exploring, monster fighting and puzzle solving. Where Silent Hill really shines though, is in its ability to disturb. From the lack of people in town to the earthquake-like fissures in the roads to the creepy alternate realities that start appearing, reality in the game seems to be unraveling. As you progress further, both real-time and beautiful pre-rendered cinemas slowly reveal more of the story. It’s one of my favorite games for the original PlayStation.

-Ben Langberg