Our horror game countdown to Halloween continues this week with an entry from Silent Hill. The first game was released in 1999 and followed Harry Mason as he searches a strange town for his adopted daughter. Along the way, he encounters creepy monsters, creepier inhabitants and a cult trying to resurrect an old god using his daughter. Since then the series has included 10 games, a number of spin offs, some print media and two movies that followed the events of the first and third games. Contrary to popular opinion, my personal favorite in the series is Silent Hill 4: The Room.
#6 – Silent Hill 4: the Room
Silent Hill 4 puts the player in control of Henry Townshend, a young man who finds himself locked in his apartment as strange things start to happen to the other residents of the apartment building. While in the apartment, the game is in first person perspective, switching to third person as Henry starts to explore the nightmare around him via a hole in the bathroom wall. Henry’s only connection to the real world is his neighbor, Eileen, who he can watch through the wall but cannot communicate with. The objective of the game is to keep Henry’s apartment from becoming too infected while protecting Eileen from the same fate other tenants have suffered.
Ultimately, the highlight of the game is the relationship between Henry and Eileen. The player has no idea what their relationship was before the events of the game. Early on, however, Eileen becomes the only connection Henry has with the real world, the only person he can see outside of the others trapped in the other world with him. And all the others are scheduled for death. If players wish to achieve the best ending to the game, saving Eileen becomes as much of a priority as saving Henry. I like to imagine in the alternate reality presented by Shattered Memories that Henry and Eileen are in group therapy together.
The opening theme song is one of the best pieces of Silent Hill music and comes highly recommend. Silent Hill 4 also features a number of memorable scares, for instance, the floating Eileen head in the hospital level. Or who could forget the crying babies coming out of the wall? Which leads us to the ultimate question: