Silent Hill (1999) still holds up


Enemy, “Pyramid Head” is the subject on a soundtrack cover.

Colton Mudloff, Reporter

“Silent Hill” is a survival horror game that focuses on psychological horror where the player is exposed to a literary-level story with several mature themes. The main protagonist, Harry Mason, searches for his daughter, Cheryl, in the strange, twisted city of Silent Hill. The unique game was received very well and quickly topped the charts of all of company Konami’s previous games. “Silent Hill” was the first horror game to include full 3D models and game environments. Considering the game having been released in 1999 for the original PlayStation, these design choices were feats. The design was something that the project team, team Silent, focused on. They wanted to make sure that the monsters had aspects of human features to make them even more terrifying. Monsters resembling children, dogs, and people in straightjackets were included in the first title. The main artist in charge of monster design was Masahiro Ito. He is credited for having created some of the most iconic monsters in video game history.

To make this game the best they could, they used unconventional methods. One of these methods included the team’s choice of sound director. Akira Yamaoka headed the sound effects as well as the music on his own. Yamaoka did not traditionally write music or compose it. He played using only his emotions inspired by the game’s script rather than its visuals. Yamaoka could not read sheet music, but he can invoke certain emotions from the player.

The game broke standard again by including four different endings that depended on the player’s actions throughout the game. The different endings add a new replayability that would not likely be present if the game only had one ending. The town itself influences Harry and the other characters that the player interacts with. Silent Hill is a character itself. It gets into people’s heads and burrows into their emotions and plays on them. The town, heavily influenced by Stephen King’s “The Mist,” was a thing of nightmares at release. Now, the 20 year old game is still loved by many fans as it led to the two favorite games of the series “Silent Hill 2” and “Silent Hill 3.”