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History of Silent Hill Games

he words ‘Silent Hill’ has been heard all around Brantford in the past month as the filming of a major motion pictured happened in the downtown core. There have been rumours and speculation about the cast and whether they are really going to call the film ‘Centrilia’ or not but there still remains a mystery to most: what is Silent Hill? What are the games like?

Developed by Konami in Japan (who brought us Frogger in 1981), Silent Hill is part of a game genre known as ‘Survival Horror’ where you play the protagonist in a carefully crafted story.

The first Silent Hill came out on the original Playstation in 1999. It tells the story of Harry and his daughter Cheryl who are in a car accident. When Harry revives, he finds Cheryl missing and sets out on a mission to find her. The accident occurred just outside of a strange small town called—you guessed it, Silent Hill. You guide Harry and solve puzzles along the way. As the storyline unravels, you will encounter many strange creatures along the way and the music and events will often scare you. To get the best experience out of the game, I recommend you play it with the music turned up and the lights turned off. Getting a copy of the original game today will be a bit of challenge, but not impossible if you look on sites like eBay.

The second installment, Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams (PS2, PC, XBox) takes us back to the foggy town but with a new cast of characters and story. Three years after his wife tragically dies, James Sunderland receives a letter that appears to be from beyond the grave. His wife tells him in the letter that he can find her at ‘their sanctuary: Silent Hill’. So you head back into that town where creatures lurk in search of Mary, and whatever else awaits you. Released in 2001, there are actually two versions available on the PS2 for you collectors. To match the release on the XBox, the ‘Greatest Hits’ edition contains an entirely new episode that features one of the secondary characters.

Silent Hill 3 is the first to feature a female protagonist: Heather. Awakened to what appears to be a nightmare, Heather must find her way out of the darkness and the silence that is broken only by the sounds of strange creatures lurking all around. Armed with a pistol, Heather starts at an abandoned mall and must find a way out, which ultimately leads to the infamous town. Only parts of the story are revealed as you progress so I won’t spoil it for you. This one was released in 2003.

Silent Hill 4: The Room, released in 2004, follows Henry Townshend’s escape from mysterious room 302 and has you embark on a whole new journey filled with new characters, music, and unspeakable horrors. The production values of all the games are at incredible high and this one is no exception.

The entire Survival-Horror Genre was arguably introduced by Capcom’s Resident Evil series (which have been turned into two motion pictures) and comparisons are often drawn between the two. Resident Evil tends to be littered with more shock value or quick scares while Silent Hill plays psychological warfare on your brain through its music, environments, and characters. Either will scare you unlike any movie you have ever seen and keep you wanting for more if that’s your thing. You can find out more about all of the games in the series by visiting Silent Hill Heaven (http://www.silenthillheaven.com).

All told, there have been over four million copies of Silent Hill sold. This figure does not include supplementary items such as the official soundtrack by composer Akira Yamaoka. Other items and information can be found on fan sites like ‘Central Silent Hill’ (http://www.black-helix.com/is/dead).

With two Resident Evil movies and the Silent Hill film being released in 2006, it is quite evident that the crossover between videogames and Hollywood is getting stronger. The best is yet to come.

Article Copyright ©2005 by Syd Bolton. Original publication date: 5/14/2005.
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