Monday, 29 October 2012

Return to the Nightmare: Silent Hill

In my restless dreams,
I see that town.

Silent Hill.

You promised me you'd take me
there again someday.
But you never did.

Well, I'm alone there now...
In our 'special place'...
Waiting for you...
~Mary's Letter

With Halloween closing in on us again I decided to re-play one of my most beloved games Silent Hill 2, released in 2001 Silent Hill 2 was one of the greatest psychological horror's in gaming history.

You play as James Sunderland made a widower through the loss of his terminally ill wife Mary Sunderland, however shortly after her death James receives a letter confirming that she's alive and waiting for him in Silent Hill, being beckoned by the call we find our-self's on the outskirts of the hell-bent town, as we follow his journey throughout the town we find that his sense of judgement and facts have gone awry as he stops thinking of his Mary being dead and thinks of her as being alive, this makes other characters in the game question his state of mind as they ask him "but you said Mary was dead" making our character caught between reality and his own deluded world.

While Silent Hill 2 is a horror there are no screamers, jumps or cheap scares instead the game's atmosphere has been made so that each players imagination takes hold and conjures up the disturbing thoughts and images into their heads, almost as if you're punishing yourself for an unknown reason which reflects perfectly upon what James is going through in the town, all the while you go walking along dark corridors trying each door and praying that the door does not open as the black transition screen for going room to room will fill your heart with the fear of the unknown.

Some of the most intense sections revolve around the character named by fans as "Pyramid Head". Pyramid Head is one of the most metaphorical characters ever in video games, you could write an essay on just this one character (well I could anyway), he resembles alot of different things, guilt, punishment, shame, disgrace, restoration in humanity, executioner and so on. Of course he is also the root of many disturbing scenes like the infamous rape scene -as pictured below- This creature will give chase to you many times throughout the town, strangely enough however you seem to survive each time as he seems to lose interest in chasing you and simple walks away disappearing for a while, making you wonder why he isn't trying very hard to catch you it's almost as if he is toying with you.

You can't deny that's unsettling.
Silent Hill 2 makes full use of it's dark subjective material and utilizes it in a brilliant and disturbing way that no other game has ever achieved, if you have never played Silent Hill 2 and are a fan of horror I strongly recommend you should play this and add it to your collection.

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