Silent Hill (PlayStation) review
"The fog-shrouded town is infested with all sorts of things that go bump in the night and Harry’s not exactly the ideal monster-slayer — being a bit clumsy and not a particularly sharp marksman. And whenever he starts to feel secure that he’s on top of things, his surroundings tend to get a bit askew. With loud clangings and bangings, the foggy surroundings melt away, leaving Harry in a dark, hellish world surrounded by rusty metallic walls."
It was just an ordinary day in the life of Harry Mason as he went on a road trip with his young daughter -- until the accident. Swerving to avoid a ghostly figure near a town, Harry wrecks his car. Upon regaining consciousness, he realizes his daughter is missing. A quick search of the area is abruptly halted by a few diminutive assailants who make quick work of Harry. Or do they?
He wakes up in a diner, seemingly unscathed by the attack. A female cop chats with him a bit and leaves. Harry picks up a hand-held radio. As static assaults his ears, a winged beast smashes through the structure’s window. Welcome to Silent Hill, dude!
If you get the idea Harry’s facing an uphill battle to find his daughter in Konami’s Silent Hill, you’re absolutely correct. He’s got a lot working against him. The fog-shrouded town is infested with all sorts of things that go bump in the night and Harry’s not exactly the ideal monster-slayer -- being a bit clumsy and not a particularly sharp marksman. And whenever he starts to feel secure that he’s on top of things, his surroundings tend to get a bit askew. With loud clangings and bangings, the foggy surroundings melt away, leaving Harry in a dark, hellish world surrounded by rusty metallic walls.
But even though he’s just an ordinary man, Harry’s love for his daughter gives him the strength to soldier on through the darkness. He tentatively sneaks through back alleys to make it to one of the spookiest elementary schools ever visualized. He hacks down hunchbacked, zombified nurses and flees from.....well, he’s not sure exactly what it is, but anything emitting roaring sounds like those probably isn’t very friendly!
And as he goes, things get more and more weird. Harry encounters a creepy old lady, a less-than-sociable doctor and a terrified nurse, all while hearing bits and pieces of a macabre tale concerning a cult attempting to resurrect an evil deity. The borders between reality and fantasy become blurred and after awhile neither Harry nor the person controlling him will be sure of what actually is happening. Harry might rescue his daughter and get the hell out town.....or the whole quest could just be his dying hallucination while slowly slipping into eternal sleep in the wreckage of his car.
Regardless of Harry’s eventual fate, Silent Hill is one of the greatest survival horror titles I’ve ever seen. The grotesque sights and unexplainable events caused me to wonder if the town really was a portal to Hell -- or if my hero had just gotten a really big dose of the hallucinogenic substance supposedly used by the alleged cult in their practices. Combine that with solid gameplay that only gets noticeably awkward in a few places, creative puzzles and a few whimsical additions (alien abduction, anyone?) and this becomes one of my favorite Playstation titles.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (November 22, 2006)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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