What do you get when Konami uses psychological fear, narrow corridors and hallways filled with grotesque monsters and a suspenseful soundtrack, you get the game series Silent Hill. Silent Hill is a survival horror game series that first debuted in 1999 for the Playstation with its first game “Silent Hill” (often referred Silent Hill 1 for clarification purposes.) The fictional town of Silent Hill is located in Maine and is known for having a tragic history and bizarre occurrences. Each game in the series always links back to the town, often referencing old events of previous games or even having a direct correlation between them. Four years later, in 2003, the third installment of the series releases on the Playstation 2, “Silent Hill 3.”
Although it’s titled “Silent Hill 3,” the plot of the story is a direct sequel to the first game from 1999, so it is highly recommended to play Silent Hill 1 first before playing 3. Luckily, if you’re not able to get your hands on the original CD copy of the game, Sony has released the digital version on the Playstation Store, making it playable on the PS3, PSP, PS Vita and PS4.
Seventeen years after the ending of the first game, players are in control Heather Mason, the teenage protagonist for Silent Hill 3. The game begins with Heather running errands for her father at a shopping center. She stops to take a break in a restaurant and ends up falling asleep. Having a dream about Silent Hill, Heather has to wander through an abandoned amusement park, fighting off strange, deformed creatures. Walking on a roller coaster track, a stray coaster car hits her, marking the end of the dream.
Awake, she calls her father and lets him know she’s heading home. As she’s leaving, a strange man named Douglas Cartland approaches her, identifying himself as a detective. He says he wants to talk to Heather about her birth, but Heather easily shows disinterest thinking that he’s a stalker. She rushes off to the bathroom and climbs out of the window to find another way through the mall. Back inside the mall, she is confronted by creatures and manages to find a handgun in a clothing store to defend her. Trying to find a way out, Heather is then approached by another person, this time a woman dressed in all black. The woman says she was searching for “Her” and that Heather will lead them to Paradise. A bad migraine hits Heather as the woman leaves.
This was just the first few minutes of the game, but a lot of plot and story is covered. Somebody who hasn’t player Silent Hill before will obviously be confused, but an interest behind Heather’s birth is easily established. However, if somebody has played Silent Hill 1, they might be awestruck having previous information and seeing the connection.
Just like the previous games, Silent Hill 3 is played through third person perspective, so players are able to interact with things they see in the environment. Going through the game, the player must solve riddles and puzzles, collect key items to unlock more areas, and fight-or-flight with monsters they encounter in order to survive. The key feature in the series is the combination use of a flash light, commonly being the only source of light, and a “broken radio” which makes static noise when approaching monsters; don’t expect to get a music radio station though, as it’s “broken.”
Combat is done through the use of melee weapons and firearms collected through exploring the nightmarish locations of Silent Hill. In Silent Hill 3, new mechanics are added, such as being able to distract monsters temporarily using a new item, players being able to fall down holes and cliffs to their death, (mechanic disabled on the Easy difficulty) and players being knocked to the floor when hit by certain attacks. The controller also vibrates when the player attacks and when being attacked. It also vibrates in tune with Heather’s physical condition, vibrating when low on health and near death.
Trying to discover the purpose of your birth will be a dangerous one, so it’s recommended to keep an eye on supplies, such as extra ammunition and recovery items. The struggling though will not go unrewarded; the are tons of unlockable content, such as harder difficulties, new weapons not found in the environment, and even game modifiers that change how much ammo is given when finding supplies. There are also alternate endings, so game replay is greatly encouraged. Hopefully, the game doesn’t make you go insane from the constant fear of enemies lurking around the corner.
Silent Hill 3 was released on the Playstation 2 and for PC and was given an HD remaster for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The Silent Hill HD Collection comes with both Silent Hill 2 and 3, so you can experience two different people trying to find what they’re looking for in the same town. Either way, regardless of which game you play, never turn that radio unless you want to suffer.