Konami's entry into the horror adventure genre is a visual and psychological feast for fans of this type of game, hampered by some nagging control issues and a few out of place puzzles. What this game does best is scare you out of your skin with its images and sounds, along with an increasingly tense story as the main character, Harry, searches for his missing daughter in a small but nearly deserted village.
The few people Harry meets in the game (via some beautiful CG scenes) offer him varying degrees of assistance and information as he warps back and forth between the fog and darkness of the "real" world to the even darker Otherworld, a mirror image with its rust, blood, deteriorating grated floors. The graphics are excellent, and you get the feeling that the place called Silent Hill actually exists, then you read the signs on some of the buildings (if you're not on the run from some beast) and you notice a bit of humor here and there (Cut-Rite Chain Saws, HELL Gas,etc.).
As for the music and sounds: they are, as I said earlier, used excellently as, psych-outs: When you're creeping around in the sewers late in the game, that little red radio stops emitting the white noise that acts as a radar of sorts, and out of the dark, something skitters toward you,and you think its nothing but a sound effect, because you don't know that the radio doesn't work! By then, you should be used to dealing with the odd control; Harry Mason is an normal guy, and while it is funny when he trips and falls off of the stairs now and then, it's not so funny when you're being chased by a couple of snarling, bloody dogs and an ape-thing! I found myself switching to the digital pad after a few hours of too many close calls, but it didn't make much of a difference. This is a problem that most 3rd person games share, so it shouldn't be too much of a bother. I did have a bit of a tough time with some of the later puzzles, probably because I was too busy being terrified to have to stop and try to figure out which buttons to push to open a door or get an item, but the puzzles give you a breather from the shuffling, groaning, fearsome creatures that inhabit the game.
In short, Silent Hill is a modern horror classic that's cut from the same cloth as the and Resident Evil series, but comes out ahead, due to its far more frightening content and more mature theme.
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