There's something about this quiet little resort town that seems to draw all the darkness together into one place, all the madness from deep-seated nightmares into one name: Silent Hill. The name itself evokes visions of twisted creatures and primal fears come to life, and it's been this way for years, after four games, several comic series, and a feature film. But here is where it all started, the game that introduced us to the little town of Silent Hill.
It begins with a compelling hook -- Harry Mason is driving along a lonely road with his seven year-old daughter Cheryl, when he is driven from the road and crashes. When he regains conciousness, Cheryl is gone, and Harry is stuck in Silent Hill. The rest of the game becomes an increasingly desperate search for Harry's daughter, leading not only into the depths of the town and its many secrets, but also into his own past and into the depths of his sanity.
As Harry travels through the town he meets other characters - Cybil Bennett, a police officer also trapped in the town like him, Dahlia Gillespie, priestess of an ancient religion, Lisa Garland, a nurse haunted by something she has seen, and Alessa, a girl who seems to be at the center of the mystery of the town itself. He amasses weapons to fight the many creatures in the town, twisted creations of a demented mind, and finds objects to help him solve puzzles along the way. And as he progresses, he travels between worlds...from this world's dangers to the warped Otherworld of Silent Hill, where nothing seems to make sense but everything is connected.
Even playing Silent Hill today, in the time of hyper-realistic games, full-scale production on par with Hollywood, and high-definition graphics, the original Silent Hill still stands the test of time. It is challenging, and production values are high given the limitations of the time it was made. The original Playstation graphics may seem a little choppy by modern standards, but in a way this works for the game too, giving it a surreal quality as Harry's perspective shifts from one reality to another. There is a minimalistic approach to the look of the whole game that works for it rather than against it -- the old concept that the less you show, the greater the potential fear is. Voice acting is a little shaky, but this is more than made up for by the quality of mood-setting sound effects and music which create a constant (and ever-escalating) sense of dread.
In the world of survival-horror games, some go for the gore-fest and others for cheap thrills. Silent Hill stands apart, as a game that tells a compelling story and accompanies every moment of that story with a shot of pure, creeping fear. It's not the kind of game to make you feel queasy or get your heart pumping, but it evokes the feeling of shivers running up your spine like cold fingers and skin that doesn't seem to feel comfortable anymore on your bones.
There's a reason the very name of Silent Hill makes people quiver just a little. Take a look at where it all began and find out for yourself.
Back in the day this game would make me afraid to sleep at night. Now I just casually laugh at this games frightening moments. This game was phenomenal for it's time. I would easily play any Silent Hill game over a Resident Evil game. With great visuals, creepy audio and a great story this game can be enjoyed by many.
The ultimate survival horror experience, bar none. Great surreal, nightmarish environment that keeps you in a constant state of fear and nerve-wracking paranoia. You'll keep visiting Silent Hill in your nightmares long after the game ends.