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VIDEO GAME REVIEWS

Silent Hill 4 : The Room



Silent Hill 4
WHERE TO FIND
PS 2:
Amazon.com Amazon UK

XBOX:
Coming Soon Amazon UK

PC:
Coming Soon Amazon UK

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Reviewed By LessonNo5

My fingers are still warm from playing this game. It’s been two days and 18 game completions since my copy came in and it’s like being home again. After a years vacation from the sleepy little town, it’s back to Silent Hill again, and man, this game is GREAT.

It’s not without its shortcomings, but this game has absolutely everything I require for a great horror game. It jumps seamlessly from Hitchcock-like suspense to modern day gore-fest. This is probably the best Silent Hill sequel since the second game, which is odd because this game was actually developed alongside Silent Hill 3. One would then expect to see a lot of similarities, but that’s not the case. It’s classic Silent Hill, but with enough new stuff to keep it advanced.

Here’s the story... You play as Henry Townshend. An average guy living in an apartment building in Ashfield Heights, a town near Silent Hill. When you join the game, Henry’s been locked inside his apartment for five days. Chains block the door, and every attempt to make noise and attract someone to help you is fruitless. Cryptic writing on the door says, “Don’t go out!!” From your window you can see life going on normally for the rest of the world. Then, on the fifth day, a hole mysteriously appears in your bathroom wall. Where does the hole lead? To a world of madness, despair, and heretical cults, of course!

The good news about this game is that all the good stuff about the series is advanced. The graphics are the best yet. The storyline is intense. The music and sound is completely without equal in this genre. They even crammed more creepy situations in this sequel. Stuff actually happens in Silent Hill 4, unlike Silent Hill 3, which was more about stuff that COULD happen. To top it all off, they even added an on screen display for your life bar, so you can actually tell how damaged you are.

The bad news is disappointing, though. For one, the combat system is still really sluggish, which sucks because they pack the monsters in there in some situations. You really have to have your shit together to put the hurt on a group of monsters, because in order for them to stay down you need to coup de grate them (stomp on their heads). If you don’t, they get back up in a hurry, with health fully restored. If you’re fighting even two monsters, you basically have to choose between taking a hit to finish one monster off, or splitting your time between them, and possibly fighting the same creature multiple times.

Speaking of creatures, that’s the second bad point. In this game, they’re less psychosexual and more plain psycho. You’ve got the Sucky Cat-Things, which is what you first meet. They’re basically weird dogs with long tongues. Then there are the Patients, which have an unfortunate sound effect when you hit them. It sounds like a burp (Whack, BURP, Whack, BURP.) Then there are the Two-Headed Baby things... The most disturbing of the lot, probably. Then there’s the Gum-Heads, the Wheel Chairs, etc... Nothing really that exciting. I thought a little more time could’ve been taken developing them.

There’s also and entire group of enemies you can’t even kill. They’re the most annoying and disturbing group of enemies in the game. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, so I’ll just call them Ghosts. All through out the game they will annoy you. The only way to really get rid of them is to nail them in place with an extremely rare item. There are 19 ghosts in the game and only 5 of said items. Do the math. There’s also another enemy you can’t destroy, who turns out to be the boss of the game. He shows up and chases you around, shooting at you (which sucks). All you can do is beat him up and knock him out until he shows up again to steal another half a life bar form you. I’ve always thought enemies like that were just weak. Just like Tyrant or Nemesis... Having that guy chase you around is even more frustrating when you consider that for half of the game you have to baby sit Eileen, your next door neighbor. She moves slow, and can easy get separated from you. If you’re running from the guy, you basically have to sit there and take it until she catches up to you. Luckily, you can upgrade her weapons through out the game. Towards the end she actually becomes really useful.

My final complaint is the doubling back. There are 5 locations in the game... Your apartment, the Subway, the Orphanage, the Hospital, the Buildings... The first time through is great. Then you find out you have to go through it again... Ugh... I hate it when they do that. Constantly through out the game you have to return to your apartment through a series of “holes” which at first was really cool. Right about the end of the game, though, it got kind of irritating. Especially when it was for something dumb, like having to drop off a broken weapon because you simply cannot drop it.

Those are my only really complaints, though. Aside from the combat system, the unfortunate sound effects, and the annoying enemies, this was a really kick ass game. Scary as hell, too. What makes it really stand out from the other game in this series is that you can actually understand the storyline the first time through. With the other games, it took me a couple of plays to really understand the history behind Silent Hill.

Like all the other games, this one has a slew of Easter eggs. Four different endings, hidden weapons, and a little humor thrown in. You’ll know what I mean if you play until the end of the game and manage to find the demon hiding in your bathroom. The endings are based on really two things... First of all, whether or not you save Eileen. Second, how “clean” your apartment is at the end of the game.

All in all, this was totally worth the fifty bucks to me. I’ve played through it about a dozen times now and it hasn’t gotten dull yet. This game is officially going in the pantheon. A game that I will someday force my children to pay, and then gladly pay the psychotherapy bills for years afterward. Now if only someone would turn this series into a movie....



RATING

(Out of 5)


THE BEST PART
The hole in the wall. Eileen sweeps, she shaves, she watches TV... Now if only I could kill that damn bunny.
THE WORST PART
Whack, BURP, Whack, BURP


RELEASE DATES
PS2 - 09/07/04
XBOX - 09/07/04
PC - 09/09/04
# OF PLAYERS
1 players
OFFICIAL WEBSITES
www.konami.com/gs/silenthill4
www.konamityo.com/sh4
PUBLISHER
Konami
DEVELOPER
Konami
ESRB RATING


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