Last time, I wrote about my love for wrestling. And, because of my favorite wrestler, The Undertaker, I got to thinking about spooky things… and what game is spookier (is that a word?) than Silent Hill!
Oh my God, I love Konami’s Silent Hill so much! I love it so much that I allow myself to get girly about how much I love Silent Hill. There’s just something about the games that attracts me to it. I’m not really a fan of horror movies so it is a bit weird that a horror game franchise is one of my favorites.
My love affair with the spooky town started with the second game. The protagonist, James Sunderland, receives a letter from his wife, Mary, requesting him to pick her up in Silent Hill. The thing is, Mary’s been dead for 3 years! Yet, James still goes to the town.
I was only 6 or 7 when I watched my brother play the game. I remember we would turn off the lights while he would go around the town. We would play at night to get the maximum effect of creepiness. Even then, I knew what I was watching was special. It wasn’t like the Resident Evil games where the zombies would pop out and scare you by surprising you. No, Silent Hill 2 was scary because of what was going in your mind while you played it.
There were a couple of scenes that scared me then. The first one was when James entered a bathroom and he tried to open one of the stalls. I think the text said that no one was in the stall so we turned around and walked towards the door… and then there was a knocking sound. I was freaked out since I imagined that the knocking came from inside the stall that had no one in it!
The other thing that frightened me is something I can’t figure out why it scared me. In one Nightmare sequence, James encounters a wall with a hole in it but it’s too dark to go in. I remember once we got out of the Nightmare, I told my brother to go where the hole was because maybe we could get in now.
When we got to the same place, we saw this:
This still creeps me out when I see it.
I was excited when we got Silent Hill 3. I wasn’t as scared of the game. Maybe because I was older and knew what to expect. Still, there were a lot of things that I loved about it. I actually loved the character of Heather Morris since it seemed to make more sense to have a girl as the star of a horror game. Too bad that, at the time, I didn’t know the story of the first game since the character was actually in the it! I guess I would’ve loved this game a little bit more.
My favorite scenes were the transitions from the normal world to the Nightmare areas. The one in the bathroom was done extremely well. That actually gave me nightmares when I tried to sleep!
But, oddly enough, the best part of the 3rd game was it came with a soundtrack disc. This was great since I love the music in the game! I never really cared about the music in most video games but Silent Hill 3 was the major exception to the rule!
The songs were all haunting in tone and really matched the atmosphere of the series and I actually got a new appreciation for video game music thanks to this game. The song entitled “I Want Love (Studio Mix)” was, and still is, one of my favorite songs. The lyrics of this song are just fantastic as well!
With Silent Hill 4, sorry, Silent Hill 4: The Room, they did switch it up a bit with adding a good portion of the gameplay where you’re trapped in a studio apartment. At first, as long as you stay in the apartment, you’re safe and you actually get healed. But that’s only during the first half of the game. Eventually, when you make it to the second half of the story, even the apartment isn’t safe anymore. That made every part of the game dreadful… in a good way.
My only problem with Silent Hill 4: The Room was that I don’t think it took place in Silent Hill! It may seem like a minor complaint to such an excellent game but I was really bothered by that fact.
The fifth installment, Silent Hill: Homecoming (no more numbers now!) was good but I just felt it didn’t capture the magic of the previous games. It didn’t feel as creepy or have the epic story of the 2nd installment. There was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on. One aspect was probably the game, once again, didn’t take place in Silent Hill.
I realized that the other reason was it didn’t have the psychological horror the previous games had. The other Silent Hill games were scary for me because of the dark turns the story takes. Silent Hill: Homecoming just seems like a good horror movie story. It’s good, but it wasn’t Silent Hill good.
I still have to watch gameplay videos of Silent Hill: Downpour and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I hope their stories are just as good as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th installments. Speaking of which, I’ll be talking more about my favorite video game stories next time!
Have you played Silent Hill? What are your memories of the game? Please leave them in the comments section below!