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- "Silent Hill" refers to multiple subjects. See Silent Hill for more uses.
Silent Hill, also known as Silent Hill 1, is the first installment in the Silent Hill series of psychological survival horror video games. The game was developed by Team Silent and published by Konami.
It was released for the Sony PlayStation in North America on January 31, 1999. It was re-released on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3, but not for PlayStation Vita (however, it can be played on the Vita via PS3 Remote Play, or by transferring the game manually from the PS3), or PlayStation 4.
Silent Hill had a huge impact and legacy on the survival horror genre since its release, showing what horror video games could be capable of. In its own series, it has spawned seven more main installments, comics, two films, and more. It has also had a major influence on horror and narrative-driven video games as a whole, showing how video game stories could have emotion, depth, complexity, and meaning.
Silent Hill 3 is a sequel set 17 years after the game, while Silent Hill: Origins is a prequel set seven years before the game. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a re-imagining of the game set in its own universe, sharing the game's original premise.
The 2006 film Silent Hill is a loose adaptation of the game's characters and plot, set in another universe.
Silent Hill, Maine is a quiet American resort town known for its very peaceful ambiance, but the memories of a tragic house fire seven years ago, in which a girl named Alessa Gillespie "died", still haunts the town and the townsfolk. Having had his wife Jodie die of a disease four years ago, Harry Mason is a single parent with an adopted daughter Cheryl. Harry is still in grief from Jodie's death and to help his mental state, Cheryl begs him to take a relaxing vacation to the resort town of Silent Hill, and Harry gives in. Due to car troubles, Harry and Cheryl arrive in the outskirts of Silent Hill at night, following the winding mountainside road.
While driving on the outskirts of the town, Harry sees a girl (an astral projection) walking across the road. Harry swerves his car to avoid hitting her and is knocked unconscious by the resulting car crash. Harry wakes up later to find that Cheryl has disappeared, and is forced to venture into the snowing fog-covered town to rescue her. At first glance, Harry notes that the entire town, or at least Old Silent Hill, seems to be abandoned.
Harry leaves the area to look around and sees Cheryl running away and immediately hurries to follow her. Chasing her through the streets of Silent Hill, he finds himself running down a small residential street and into a dark alley. The sky suddenly turns dark, a siren blares in the distance, and when Harry lights the area with a lighter, he finds that his entire environment has changed into the Otherworld. The road pavement has been replaced by rusted metal grating and platforms, and the walls are a dark, grimy series of mesh and chain link fences. Everything is covered in rust and blood, tipped with barbed wire, and the shapes of hanging bodies are discernible behind the mesh. The sounds of industrial clanking and grinding metal form a constant cacophony of ambient noise. With nowhere to go, Harry follows the alley and finds the disturbing body of a mutilated corpse hanging on a fence before him. Moments later, he is attacked by small, child-like monsters. Despite his best efforts, Harry is eventually overwhelmed and "killed".
He wakes up in a deserted diner called Cafe 5to2. An officer named Cybil Bennett from the nearby town Brahms appears, and after a brief conversation, she provides him with a handgun and leaves to look for help. In the diner, Harry arms himself with a map, a knife, and a flashlight. As Harry attempts to leave the diner, a radio on a nearby table starts emitting static, causing Harry to investigate it. A flying monster crashes through a window and into the store and assaults Harry. Harry defeats the monster with his handgun and stands there in disbelief for a moment before leaving the diner. Harry soon encounters other monsters on the foggy streets. He quickly discovers the radio's usefulness when it emits intensifying static as monsters grow closer. Following a clue left by his daughter, Harry eventually finds his way to Midwich Elementary School to search for her.
From his initial inspection, the school itself is long since abandoned. Instead of students and teachers, Harry finds many Grey Children or Mumblers. Harry works his way around, eventually unlocking the clock tower in the school's courtyard. Upon reaching the other side of the facility across the courtyard, he is shocked to find the world has once again shifted into the Otherworld. Again, the already-dwindling light is reduced to nothing more than what Harry's flashlight can produce, and the surfaces have all undergone a horrific shift back to the metal grating and uneven platforms. In the Otherworld school, Harry travels to the boiler room. Inside, light is cast by a flaming corpse, illuminating a creature known as Split Head— a large lizard with its head split in half. With its defeat, everything turns to darkness, and then the light returns to reveal an ordinary boiler room. A girl, Alessa Gillespie, is leaning against the boiler. She turns to Harry and disappears into thin air.
Confused, Harry leaves the school. He hears a church bell ringing in the distance and heads to the Balkan Church, where he sees a woman praying at an altar. She turns to meet Harry, and in a conversation that he has difficulty understanding, she reveals herself to be Dahlia Gillespie. She gives Harry a mystical item called the Flauros and tells him to make haste to the hospital. Before Harry can ask any questions, Dahlia leaves and Harry exits the church. He crosses a bridge that leads to Central Silent Hill.
Harry arrives at Alchemilla Hospital, where he encounters Michael Kaufmann, a doctor who is as bewildered as Harry about the current circumstances. Shortly after this meeting, Harry endures another shift to the Otherworld, transforming the medical facility into the Otherworld's twisted version of the hospital, infested with monstrous nurses. Along the way he also meets Lisa Garland, a terrified nurse. Though she knows much about the town and its history, he is unable to get answers before he is transported back to the fog world, where Dahlia reappears and tells him that the "Mark of Samael", a strange symbol he has seen in various locations, must not be completed, lest the darkness devour the whole town.
Meeting up with Cybil, who has seen a girl out on the lake, the pair find a hidden altar in an antiques store, but Harry disappears out of sight of Cybil, much to her confusion. Harry, meanwhile, finds himself back in the hospital with Lisa, who gives him directions to the lake, but also tells Harry she feels she's "not supposed to leave". On the way to the lake, Harry passes through some sewers and enters the resort area.
The player may determine Kaufmann's fate (and the game's ending) by choosing to assist him in Annie's Bar and doing a sidequest - in the canon Good ending, Harry saves Kaufmann and fulfills the sidequest. Kaufmann is thankful, but his business presses him onward. Harry finds a motorcycle stash of a mysterious red vial in a gas tank, and Kaufmann reappears and angrily snatches it away.
Soon after, the Otherworld nightmare begins to take over the town completely. Regrouping with Cybil, and deciding to stop the mark's completion at Dahlia's desperate request, Harry heads to the lighthouse, and Cybil heads to Lakeside Amusement Park. As Cybil is attacked by an unknown assailant, Harry once more sees Alessa, and the symbol, at the top of the lighthouse, before heading to the amusement park himself. On the amusement park's carousel, Cybil appears, possessed by a parasite. The player may choose to save or kill Cybil, once again affecting the game's ending; however, Cybil is killed by Harry in the canon ending. With Alessa appearing once more, Harry unwittingly uses the Flauros to trap her. Dahlia appears, revealing that she manipulated him into trapping her, as he was the only one who would be able to get close to her, and that Alessa is in fact her daughter.
With Alessa's powers out of control, Harry awakens to find himself back in the distorted world resembling the hospital, simply known as Nowhere. He finds Lisa and she bleeds from every orifice in front of a horrified Harry, who flees when she approaches him, though he is clearly sympathetic. Lisa's diary, left in the room, explains that she was the nurse who attended to Alessa in return for a drug she was addicted to, PTV, which Kaufmann supplied. In Nowhere, Harry sees a flashback of a meeting between Dahlia, Kaufmann, and two cult doctors discussing Alessa's hospitalization and the rebirth of God.
Harry soon finds Dahlia, and possibly Cybil if he saved her earlier (although Cybil doesn't appear in the canon ending), as well as a figure in a wheelchair wrapped in bandages: Cheryl/Alessa recombined, with Alessa's astral projection sitting nearby. Both the flashback and Dahlia's words explain that Dahlia sacrificed her daughter to fire seven years ago in an attempt to nurture and bring about the birth of the god worshiped by a fanatical cult of which Dahlia is a priestess, and that the god now resides within Alessa's womb. In doing so, Alessa split her soul in half to prevent God from being born. The other half of the soul manifested itself as Cheryl, whom Harry and his wife found as a baby on the road outside of Silent Hill and subsequently adopted.
In the present, Alessa called Cheryl back to Silent Hill so that her full power would be restored. Alessa would then inscribe several Seal of Metatrons around the town and purge the town from reality, killing herself to prevent God's birth. Alessa manifested herself as an astral projection in the town to place the marks Harry has seen in an attempt to keep the god at bay. Dahlia also reveals that the "Mark of Samael" is actually the Seal of Metatron, and Dahlia used Harry as her pawn. With Alessa's plan defeated and the two halves of her soul now back together, the god creature begins to manifest itself.
In the canon Good ending, Kaufmann appears and throws a vial of Aglaophotis at the god, expelling the Incubus from the Incubator's back. In the non-canon Bad endings, Kaufmann doesn't appear and Harry faces the Incubator. Both forms kill Dahlia instantly, before turning its attention to Harry, who ultimately defeats it.
- Good+ (Complete the Kaufmann sidequest and save Cybil): Cybil tries to shoot Dahlia, but fails and Alessa and Cheryl merge, becoming the Incubator. Kaufmann then appears, shooting Dahlia and throwing the Aglaophotis at the Incubator. When hit with the liquid, the Incubator falls to the ground, screaming as the Incubus emerges from her back. The Incubus kills Dahlia. Harry then fights and defeats the Incubus, and the Incubator gives him a baby (who is revealed to be Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3) and shows him the escape route. Harry, Cybil, and Kaufmann try to escape, but a blood-covered Lisa Garland appears and drags Kaufmann with her into the abyss. Harry and Cybil continue their escape; however, the Otherworld is collapsing too quickly for them to make it on their own, so the Incubator uses the last of her power to stop the world's destruction in order for them to escape. The Incubator is then consumed by the flames and Cybil and Harry escape together with the baby. The song for this ending is "Tears Of...".
- Good (Complete the Kaufmann sidequest and kill Cybil): Alessa and Cheryl merge, becoming the Incubator, but Kaufmann appears, shooting Dahlia and throwing the Aglaophotis at the Incubator. When hit with the liquid, the Incubator falls screaming to the ground as the Incubus emerges from her back. The Incubus kills Dahlia. Harry defeats the Incubus and the Incubator gives him a baby and shows him the escape route. As Harry escapes, Kaufmann tries to follow him but is stopped by Lisa. The Incubator is consumed by the flames. Harry safely makes it to the highway on the outskirts of the town and stares up at the sky, bewildered at everything that has happened. The Book of Lost Memories states that this is the "orthodox ending connected to the third game." The song for this ending is "Killing Time".
- Bad+ (Don't complete the Kaufmann sidequest and save Cybil): Alessa and Cheryl merge, becoming the Incubator, and kill Dahlia. Cybil then appears and tries to kill Dahlia, but fails. Harry then battles Incubator who, after defeat, thanks Harry. Harry then collapses in sorrow over the loss of his daughter. Cybil walks over to Harry, smacks him out of his grief, and tells him to go as the Otherworld collapses around them. The song for this ending is "She".
- Bad (Don't complete the Kaufmann sidequest and kill Cybil): Alessa and Cheryl merge, becoming the Incubator, and kill Dahlia. Harry then battles the Incubator who, after defeat, thanks Harry and says goodbye. Harry collapses in sorrow over the loss of his daughter. Harry is then seen bleeding from his head, unconscious in his car, which suggests that everything that happened in Silent Hill was just a dying dream, conjured by the failing synapses of his dying brain. This ending is ironic because at one point in the game, Harry foreshadows this by wondering whether everything that is happening to him is just a dream that he is having in a hospital after a car crash. The song for this ending is "Esperándote", sung in Spanish.
- UFO: When Harry uses the Channeling Stone for the fifth time on top of the lighthouse, a group of UFOs is seen in the sky. As the UFOs land, the cutscene changes style to a roughly animated picture show. Harry tries to ask the aliens if they have seen his daughter, but is shot down and brought into their spaceship. The UFOs take off and the credits roll in a fashion similar to the 3D billing effect commonly used for horror/supernatural projects in the early/mid 1900s.
The objective of the player is to guide Harry Mason through the seemingly abandoned town of Silent Hill as he searches for Cheryl. The gameplay consists of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving. The controller vibration is used to indicate Harry's heartbeat and will vibrate on low health.
The game uses "tank controls", where the player must imagine they are controlling Harry as a tank. Harry can jump backwards if the player holds square and down. Due to the mandatory tank controls, it is essential that the player learns how to shoot and walk backwards at the same time.
The player must regularly enter an inventory screen to check Harry's health, use items, and equip different weapons.
Harry confronts monsters in each area with both melee weapons and firearms. A portable radio alerts Harry to the presence of nearby creatures with bursts of static. Harry's flashlight illuminates dark areas.
Although the game doesn't mention it, the game has a hidden extra options menu. To access it, open up the Options menu and press L1, L2, R1 or R2 to open an extra menu. The player can change the blood color, bullet adjust and more here. If the player doesn't want to hold a button to run all the time, they can change "Walk/Run Control" to "Reverse" so that Harry runs by default and holding the button will walk.
- Main article: Silent Hill Original Soundtracks
Silent Hill Original Soundtracks was released in Japan on March 5, 1999, by Konami Music Entertainment, Inc. and contains music from the game. All tracks are composed by Akira Yamaoka, except for "Esperándote", which was composed by Rika Muranaka.
Silent Hill received generally positive reviews, gaining an 86/100 and 84.99% aggregate at ratings websites Metacritic and GameRankings, respectively. The game sold over two million copies, which gained Silent Hill a place in the American PlayStation Greatest Hits budget releases.
Silent Hill was the first fully 3D third-person survival horror video game (except for OverBlood, but the "horror" and "scariness" of that game is borderline nonexistent). In contrast, Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark used pre-rendered backgrounds, whereas Clock Tower was in 2.5D and had a point-and-click interface. System Shock was played from a first person perspective, making Silent Hill a pioneer of the 3D third-person format.
While the graphics are dated by today's standards, the graphics of Silent Hill were praised for its time, showcasing the power of the Sony PlayStation. Fog and darkness were heavily used to disguise the limitations (draw distance) of the hardware. Along with the grainy and pixelated textures, also from hardware limitations, most reviewers felt that these factors actually worked in the game's favor; IGN described it as "adding to the atmosphere of dilapidation and decay" and giving the game a "distorted" and "nitty gritty" feel.
The game was also praised for its use of the Dualshock's vibration feature, which reviewers commented added to the immersive quality of the game. The game's use of lighting and sound were also praised for their tension-building quality.
Less well-received was the voice acting which was found average overall by reviewers, and accompanied by long pauses between lines that served to spoil the atmosphere. Some reviewers also took issue with the vague story, which left many questions unanswered and due to the multiple endings failed to provide any sort of real closure. The tank controls and camera angles were also criticized for being clunky.
- The exact year the game is supposed to be set in is unknown. Harry's Jeep is a 1986-1995 Jeep Wrangler, clearly evidenced by its front grille and headlights. A shop in the game says "since 1987", implying the game is not set before 1987. However, Alex Shepherd's diary, when the date is unmarked, says 1983.
- It is also possible that the game was intended to be set in the 1990s and it was later retconned to the 1980s in order to better suit Silent Hill 3 which would be set too far into the future (2007-2016), when Silent Hill 3 was to be released in 2003.
- The item menu's color is different depending on the game's difficulty setting. Green represents Easy, blue represents Normal, and purple represents Hard.
- On higher difficulties, more enemies can spawn in certain areas. It may also spawn stronger enemies in place of ones that would normally be encountered.
- The European demo version of Silent Hill had Grey Children instead of Mumblers.
- Attaching the Konami Justifier to the PlayStation will result in the Hyper Blaster being unlocked.
- At the game's beginning, when Harry is first attacked by Grey Children or Mumblers, he may attempt to run back the way he came, but will only discover that the gate has suddenly locked.
- A video of Cheryl crying can be seen on a television inside the Silent Hill Town Center. If the video is paused, an image of Alessa can be seen every few frames.
- When the player first gains control of Harry Mason, if they choose to go back and examine Harry's crashed jeep, Harry's thoughts will read "My car... Too smashed up to drive. Where's Cheryl? I prey she's safe." instead of the correct "I pray she's safe."
- Silent Hill Secrets and Unlockables
- Silent Hill Perfect Navigation
- Silent Hill: The Novel
- Silent Hill: Play Novel
- Silent Hill: Mobile
- Silent Hill on PlayStation Store
- Translated Memories
- Silent Resort - An in-depth website about the first game
|Silent Hill games|
|Main series||Silent Hill · 2 · 3 · 4 · Origins · Homecoming · Shattered Memories · Downpour|
|Ports / Adaptations||Play Novel · Mobile · HD Collection|
|Spin-offs||The Arcade · Orphan · 2 · 3 · The Escape · Book of Memories|
|Cancelled||Silent Hills (P.T.)|
|Production||Konami · Team Silent · Climax Studios · Double Helix · Vatra Games · WayForward Technologies|
|Extras||Inspirations · Features|