A downright creepy "survival horror" title, Silent Hill succeeds where most Resident Evil-inspired titles suck: keeping you hooked and instilling you with fear throughout the game. Players are cast as Harry Mason in his desperate search for his daughter, who mysteriously disappeared after their car crashed into a gully outside of a desolate resort town.
The 3-D environments in Silent Hill are bathed in fog or darkness, making its dismal setting all the more eerie; this also allows for some spectacular lighting effects when using a flashlight in the dark. Granted, there are some pretty coarse graphics being obscured here, but it's a fair trade-off, considering the game's short load times.
Silent Hill is played from a third-person perspective, viewed from both fixed and moving camera angles. As with similar games, the viewpoint can be awkward at times, especially during combat, which here is so clunky that you should try to avoid it whenever possible--something you should do anyway, as this isn't Tomb Raider.
Rather than resort to cheap scare tactics, Silent Hill features a gameplay twist that works very well with its limited visibility environments. Harry carries a radio with him that crackles with static whenever the game's nasties are near, and continues until they're no longer in the vicinity or have been killed off. (Enemies may require further whacking when they're down, as they like to play dead.) Additionally, the supported Dual-Shock controller pulsates in a heartbeatlike fashion whenever you're moderately or seriously injured. --Joe Hon
- Suspenseful story with bone-chilling gameplay
- Short load times
- Excellent lighting and fog effects
- Five possible endings add replay value
- Coarse graphics
- Clunky combat
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