This week, the Clan reviews the classic survival horror Silent Hill
Silent Hill was released in North America on January 31, 1999 in North America. It is a survival horror game, developed for the PlayStation. The game was developed by Team Silent, and published by Konami. Silent Hill features a third person camera view, and offers fully 3D environments. Silent Hill is considered a defining title in the survival horror genre due to its concentration on psychological horror, and the fact that you play an everyday regular normal guy, rather than a trained killer. Another interesting fact is the fog. The developers actually used the in game fog to mask the hardware limitations of the PlayStation, while also adding to the atmosphere of Silent Hill. The game has received positive reviews, and was a commercial success. The game currently has an 86 on Metacritic.
The story revolves around a man named Harry and his daughter Cheryl. They are heading out on vacation, and just before driving into the town of Silent Hill, he swerves off the road to avoid hitting a little girl. Upon regaining consciousness, he realizes that Cheryl is missing, and sets out to find her. We meet up with Cybil Bennet, a police officer who works in a nearby town. Oh, and there are monsters running around trying to kill you. Harry also meets Dahlia Gillespie, Doctor Michael Kaufmann, director of Silent Hill’s Alchemilla Hospital. We also meet Lisa Garland, who worked at Alchemilla. Harry finds a symbol scattered throughout the town. Dahlia claims it will allow darkness to take over the town if it continues to multiply. Dahlia then reveals that the girl we swerved to avoid is a demon, and is responsible for the symbol’s duplication. Dahlia also urges Harry to stop the demon, because if he doesn’t, Cheryl will die.
Cybil, the police officer from earlier, then attacks Harry in a Resident Evil-esque zombie fashion. But with a gun! You can either gun her down, or use a key item on her to restore her to normal. When the demon child reappears, she is captured within the Flauros that Dahlia previously gave to us. Dahlia reveals that she manipulated Harry into trapping it. It’s a phantasm of her daughter, Alessa, who possesses supernatural powers. Harry then wakes up in a crazy area called “nowhere”. He encounters Lisa here, who reveals that she is the same as the other monsters in the town, and begins to transform. We find out via a diary entry that Lisa had actually nursed Alessa during a secret hospitalization. Harry finds Dahlia with Cheryl and Alessa, charred. Seven years prior to the game, Dahlia had conducted a ritual to impregnate Alessa with the cult’s god through immolation. Alessa survived the sacrifice due to being the vessel, which rendered her immortal. Her ability to resist the ritual caused her soul to be bisected. One half of her soul went to Cheryl. Dahlia had cast a spell to draw Cheryl back to Alessa. Alessa created the symbols in town to prevent the birth.
Now for the interesting part… This game has four different endings that can occur. They depend on whether or not Harry saves Cybil or discovers a bottle of Aglaophotis at Kaufmann’s apartment, or both. Aglaophotis can be used to dispel demonic forces, and grant protection against the forces for the user. The worst ending occurs if neither of these things are done; Alessa electrocutes Dahlia, and then attacks Harry. Harry then defeats her, and we hear Cheryl’s voice thanking Harry for freeing her, and Alessa vanishes. Harry then collapses, and the game shows his corpse in the crashed car. This ending implies that the entirety of the events took place in Harry’s delusional dying mind… Freaky! The “Bad +” ending features a living Cybil, and a missing Kauffman. After Cheryl’s voice and Alessa’s disappearance, Cybil convinces Harry to flee. In the “good” ending, Cybil dies, and Kaufmann shows up with the bottle of Aglaophotis, which he uses to force the deity out of Alessa. Kaufmann is revealed to have allied Dahlia and enabled Alessa’s hospitalization. Feeling betrayed, he forces the deity out of Alessa, causing her to vanish. After Harry defeats it, the deity disappears, and Alessa appears as a baby reincarnation of herself and Cheryl. The babe is given to Harry, and it enables their escape from nowhere and the nightmare is over. In the “good +” ending, Harry escapes with Cybil and the baby. Both good endings feature a transformed Lisa preventing Kaufmann from leaving, and throwing him into a pit. There’s a secret, joke ending, where we see Harry abducted by aliens.
Story 7 8
Gameplay 9 8
Design 10 10
Music/Sound 9 8
Replayability 8 7