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Silent Hill 4: The Room

Developer: KCET | Publisher: Konami
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/07/04 | Genre: Survival Horror

In the past, Konami has created masterpiece series such as Dance Dance Revolution, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, Frogger, Suikoden and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Joining in on the Survival Horror craze after the release of Resident Evil, Konami added to their list of franchises in 1999 with the release of Silent Hill.

The first Silent Hill was based on Harry Mason, a man who crashes his car into Silent Hill with his daughter Cheryl. Basically the story is that a demon world was merging with the ‘normal’ world and you must get out of Silent Hill while stopping this from happening at the same time. The game did very well in the market and quickly became a fan favorite as one of the best Survival Horror games in the genre. With the success of the first title, Konami developed two more titles in the series. Now the fourth installment is just around the corner with a release date of September 7, 2004. Here is my review of the Japanese import.

Silent Hill 4: The Room plays a totally different role from the other three games. You start off as Henry Townshend, a man in his late twenties that has just recently moved into a new apartment in Silent Hill. Recently Henry have been having strange and awful nightmares of strange creatures and monsters and when he wakes up, he is mysteriously trapped in his room only to see out your windows and your door peephole. Your door is locked with many chains and locks an inscription has been marked into it saying “Don’t go out, Walter.â€?

The main plot of the game is about Henry and the past history of the room he lives in. You are forced to exit your room through a hole in your bathroom, which leads you to alternate locations through Silent Hill, such as the Subway and the Forest. You must work through both worlds (the location and your room) to solve puzzles and story behind the room. Silent Hill 4 is based before the recent Silent Hill video games, where the city is still total sane, yet in the process of merging into a demon town.

The game plays almost like the other Silent Hill games, but when you start off you are in a first person perspective. Don’t worry, you are only in first person when you enter your room. Outside of the room, you play in standard third person perspective that fans of the franchise are familiar with. You will also see that the controls are also very similar to the prior titles as well.

In past Silent Hill titles, the camera angles were always very good. This is not the case in the fourth installment of the title. In this Japanese import copy, the camera moves between total freedom and fixed angles. I found that there are many times when the camera can’t show you what is ahead of you. While this does add to the “creepyâ€? factor this series is known for, I personally would prefer to see what is up ahead. For players of the fourth installment of Silent Hill, they will find the camera will be the worst part of the experience.

Konami loves the energy engine, every Silent Hill game they add this engine to it. This engine allows you player to feel tired or weak when running to long, huff puff kind of thing that will create Henry to slow down when running.

Besides the scare factor, this series has been known for its exceptional visuals. Silent Hill 3 was the best graphical addition to the series and Silent Hill 4 continues this tradition. Even the smallest of details will show up on each and every character, monster, item, and environment found in the game. The graphics are taken up a level with the incredibly realistic hair found on characters and monsters. It looks so real, you will swear you can reach towards your TV screen and feel it. Another new element of Silent Hill 4 is when Henry enters a hole in his bathroom, the screen turns into an old Black and White film style and it further reminds you of an old creepy horror movie.

Players will hear moans and snarls throughout the game and these sounds will only get worse when enemies get near and the always popular Silent Hill radio screeches. When you aren’t being creeped out by the sound of enemies, the game will play silent and calm music that will lead you up to a scare. Also, like any good horror game , you need lots of blood. Whether that blood is red, green, purple, black, buckets and buckets will be found in The Room.

A horror video game would not be complete without lots and lots of puzzles. These days practically every mostly every horror game has many “find the key or flip the switch to open the doorâ€? puzzles. While Silent Hill 4: The Room does contain a lot of puzzles, they are fairly intelligent and aren’t incredibly tedious. However, you do have to backtrack some. If you are not a fan of backtracking to areas you have already gone through, you may find yourself a little annoyed.

The staff of Silent Hill are all very creative in developing something totally bizarre. Silent Hill 4 proves to be another crazy game with some of the strangest monsters you will ever approach in a video game. Most Horror games have the regular dishing out hundreds of zombies, instead Konami put together a new unique look at another demon world were you will be forced to fight crazed out dogs, two baby faced monster and Ghosts from the past that just won’t die! Each monster has its own specific way on how to kill you. Ghosts stab you with their hands or eat out your neck like a vampire, and dogs grab a hold of your leg with its teeth, like every dog in this world. However, there aren’t a lot of boss battles. In fact, the only boss I ran across was the one at the end of the game.

Silent Hill 4: The Room gives you a sense of fear when playing it, there is tons of gore, screams and monsters jumping at you. Konami dished out a true Horror video game, everything horror intends to be. It appears that with each title released in this series, Konami has learned a lot more about how to make a good Survival Horror title. This is by far the creepiest and scariest Silent Hill title to date.

Overall Silent Hill 4: The Room has been very well done, with some of best graphics you will find on the PlayStation 2 to date. The only minor errors in the game are the low voices, the slow gameplay, and bad camera angles. But overall the game is one of the best of its series, though this game doesn’t really connect to the others as well as the other games did. It is a game, however, that will have you playing for along time and has a ton of extras and secrets buried within.

If you are a die hard Silent Hill or horror fan, this game will draw you in and won‘t let you go until you finally beat it.

By Adam Beck - 07/30/04
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes
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Screenshots for Silent Hill 4: The Room

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