After Capcoms monumental success with ‘Resident Evil’, several companies followed up with their own take on the ‘survival horror’
genre. Konami produced a game that turned into a franchise, also incorporating a Hollywood film (released in 2006)and an arcade game (2007). Silent Hill tells the story of Harry, who following a car crash, ends up in the seemingly deserted town of the title, looking for his daughter, missing since the accident. The town soon becomes a waking, living nightmare, with grotesques trying to stop Harry from finding his daughter.
The game employs similair mechanics to Resident Evil, with an ‘over the shoulder’ controlling view of your character. While the focus on puzzle solving and fighting is similair to the Capcom classic, there is more of a focus on building an air of tension in this game. Surrounded by fog, you walk through deserted streets with the static hiss of Harrys radio breaking the silence. If enemies are approaching, although you cannot see them, you can hear them as the radio static gets louder. It is very effective at maintaining an atmosphere of dread and uncertainty. It eschews the frantic action of Resident Evil for something a little more slow-burning, and as a result, something that leaves you feeling far more unsettled than any other game I have played (though Fatal Frame for the Xbox has a similairly disturbing undercurrent.
Although the intro is just a collection of the ingame ‘movies’ that are employed to move the plot/game along, the way they are edited into the intro, propelled by the magnificent Silent Hill Theme by Akira Yamaoka, makes this a cut above the usual game intros of the PS1 era. If it was a trailer for a film, it would make me go to the cinema to watch that film. There are one or two other intros that also stand out (I loved Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3) but this remains my favourite.
Click here for more information on this stunning game.
Review of the game from Gamespot here
IGN rated the game as one of its top 15 PS games of all time in 2000 (by which time the PS was reaching the end of its term as the dominant Console).
For more information on the superb soundtrack to Silent Hill (the game), then click here. While we are on the subject of the soundtrack, I think this is also one of the best ever album covers;
and why do I think this is one of the great album covers? Mainly because it encapsulates all that is superb about the game – the cover is a snapshot of happiness, but once you begin to enter the world of Silent Hill (in this case, the music), you know that there is something not right, in fact, something terrible, evil, is occuring.
You can listen to the soundtrack here.