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This game stank on soooo many different levels that it's hard to know where to start. As a game its a frustrating mess, half-way through the game you get the opportunity to travel through a worm-hole system to all of the levels of the game you have already achieved, only this time slightly harder and increasingly tedious. The games connection to the Silent Hill franchise remains tenuous at best, perhaps due to the fact that the game was created as an entirely seperate work, until the success of Silent Hill 3 pressured games studio, Konami for a follow-up...so the silent Hill aspect was stitched on at the last minute. This shows in the game, which does'nt seem to know where it's gowing ,other than relinquishing a billion tired cliches about parental abandoment, wombs and a splash of (now-dated J Horror). The protagonist remains one of the wettest blankets in survival horror, submissive shut-in Henry Townesend stumbling his way around an alternate reality is no match to the anxiously ingenious characters of the proceeding games. A waste. Avoid
"The Room" is the fourth in the highly successful and very creepy Silent Hill series and it takes a slightly fresh approach to gameplay.
Your character, Henry, awakes one day to find that he is trapped in his apartment. And then a giant hole appears in the bathroom wall. Obviously he goes through it! This takes him into the depths of Silent Hill and through a cycle of different scenarios (from the creepy forest to the underground station and an abandoned hotel). You play your way through each setting twice - once meeting new human characters in each place, and the area looking vaguely normal (ish!), and once in a darker and even more warped version of the setting where you meet the people again, only this time they aren't so friendly.
One of the main differences is that you can only save in your original apartment - there aren't any save points in the game, just ways to get back to the apartment. During the first visit to each of the settings, each time you return to your apartment you can rest, peacefully, and regain your health. There are no monsters there, and you can take your time. However, once you have cycled through each area and start to revisit them for the second (and darker) time, each time you return to your apartment you will not regenerate but instead will be met with monsters who will attack you - can make saving difficult unless you keep them at bay with holy candles (which you can collect throughout the game).
You will also have notes pushed under your apartment door and clues appear when you peer out through the spyhole, or you may receive weird telephone calls or find a hole in the wall to peer through. Quite a nice touch.
The monsters are mainly ghost/haunting based and in many cases are very freaky - the floating ghosts can really get a grip on you and do a lot of damage, and the two headed giant babies are just mental :o)
Graphics are pretty good for the age of the game although would be seen to be pretty dated now, however it works well with this game and the general atmosphere, the soundtrack is also excellent.
For my money, this isn't as good as the others in the series as the revisiting of the same areas of the game gets a little boring at times, you feel a bit like you have been there and seen it and done it all before all in the space of the same game, and for all that it is still a short game, but the atmosphere is still there and it is still well worth playing especially at low prices.
The Silent Hill series has survived fairly well on the formula of a character sauntering around the Hellish town without any sense of direction for three games before Konami decided to stir things up a bit with the fourth game, The Room. It is yet another disturbing and scary title in the series that makes a few brave moves to shake things up, and for the most part is a rousing triumph.
You play as Henry Townsend, a man who has wound up trapped inside his own apartment; he cannot escape through the windows, and the door is for some reason bound shut. The only means of escape is through a hole in the wall, which takes you to the nightmarish Silent Hill, but it only takes you to a less desirable environment where your aim is to find a way to break this cycle.
The same great gameplay is back for the most part, and the majority of the game features the same controls as before. However, the added twist to the normal "enter dark room, fight horrible monster" modus operandi is that there's now a 1st person section while you're inhabiting The Room. It's not totally successful as your character moves annoyingly slowly, but it definitely adds to the creepiness as it's hard to know when you're going to be subdued from behind. Still, the monsters, locales and weaponry that makes the series so distinguishable is back, and as usual it is quite challenging due to the puzzle elements and small number of saves.
Visually, the game is sumptuous and grittier than ever before. The character models look superb for a PS2 game, and the sheer aesthetic design is marvellous, with rust consuming everything and blood staining most of the walls you'll see in the game. The famous grain effect from the third game is back, too, which adds to the eeriness, and the general lighting effects make this even more creepy as you'll no doubt spend a lot of your time watching the shadows for movement. Aurally, it is also very uncomfortable, with disturbing yelling and crying ensuring that you never get used to this horrible world.
Though Silent Hill purists might not be totally enamoured with it, it is another scary and well crafted venture into one of the most convincingly generated worlds in video game history. I love it.
Originally appearing on the Playstation, the 'Silent Hill' series is a successful series of horror games, probably most comparable to the 'Resident Evil' games in some ways, however Silent Hill has a tendency to be much more twisted and freakish than the gory and action packed nature of most Resident Evil games. It has seen six major games and also a translation to cinema.
Silent Hill is developed by Japanese company 'Konami' and as a result the games are well-produced and well-marketed and have resulted in a successful franchise of games. Unlike all the games that proceeded 'Silent Hill 4: The Room,' this game is set in the fictional American town of 'South Ashfield.' All the previous games were set in a sleepy village known as Silent Hill - a village which is exposed to be deadly and disturbing, with a hideous past. With each game, the character you play as is different. In the initial game you played as 'Harry,' a guy who loses his young, adopted daughter after a car crash near the village and subsequently is forced to investigate the further into the mystery. After the first Silent Hill, the series has progressed through to this instalment Silent Hill 4. There has since been the next two releases in the series, 'Silent Hill: Origins' and 'Silent Hill: Homecoming' which came out in October 2008. However, from here on in, I will concentrate on 'The Room' and try to keep the other games a bit of a mystery. Plus, we would be here all day.
In Silent Hill 4, you play as 'Henry Townshend,' an unremarkable man, about as 'average joe' as they come. The flannel-shirted, lonely, twenty-something is the new resident of Apartment 302 in a 'South Ashfield Heights' building. The town is a fairly indistinct US town, with a small population, suggesting it is built up yet fairly rural in its location. The game is played in a mixture of first-person and third person camera viewpoints. Your will see through the eyes of Henry when he is in his apartment, but if he ever manages to get out then you will notice the camera is instead perched just behind him to make it easier to see your environment. The game is a combination of brief but panic stricken melees with a variety of ghouls, beasts and spirits, intriguing plot twists and revelations as well as a varying degree of puzzles to solve.
=== A BRIEF PLOT AND INTRODUCTION ===
After a brief introduction to the game, the town and your new flat your find yourself able to inspect it. Henry can interact with a few objects in there, and gain info about many others. It is a key requirement of this game to keep your eyes peeled for clues as to just what the hell is going on!! Anyway, after you're satisfied you are finished with your flat you can go to sleep, only to awake to find the door is locked with massive rusty chains and padlocks. Henry can see outside the room through his spy hole and can also hear what is on the other side of the door but it is unclear whether the people on the other side can hear him. I better add (for the smart ones out there) that the phone no longer works. Or does it? By looking through the spy-hole of his door you are introduced to the building's proprietor and Henry's next-door neighbour 'Eileen Gavin.'
It is clear that something is gravely wrong, especially when you find a massive hole in your bathroom wall that appears to be a portal to another realm, so you must investigate. Why else play the game right? Upon entering the world, you are thrown into a creepy, tense and claustrophobic world of half-reality, with seemingly normal settings but very dilapidated beyond their usual states. All rusted or darkened and distorted. They are filled with little scraps of information to help you gather an idea of what is going on, but these clues are small and sometimes well hidden. There is also the problem of the genuinely horrific creatures baying for blood. Ranging from inside-out dog-like creatures, to mutilated Siamese monsters and later on - even some immortal enemies, similar to ghosts.
Anyway, to explain what the game is about without spoiling the truly engrossing story of its events I will try to make it relatively simple and short.
The first place in the alternate world, shall we way, is similar to a subway station but obviously with a horrific tinge as is so frequent in the Silent Hill series. Henry comes across a young, attractive woman name Cynthia who he at first thinks he is imagining. He witnesses her be killed and awakes in his apartment to find the radio reporting she has been killed in reality as well. Was it all a dream? Where did you go? The hole is still there and so are the chains on the door. Anyway you soon venture back into the hole and before long meet a young child, a very important one. These simple meetings are much more than they appear and the complexities of the game will bend your mind initially, a part of the challenge is to unscramble everything until you can make sense of what everyone and everything means.
When in the apartment, Henry finds scraps of a diary, crumple pieces of orange paper which give little clues to the madness. They appear to have been written by the previous occupant of your apartment, maybe he was a journalist, you will have to decipher it all yourself. He refers to a serial killer named 'Walter Sullivan' and his spree, but the killer in question killed himself years before. It becomes clear to Henry (or you) that he is in some way responsible for what has happened in your apartment and the only way to do anything about it is to crawl back into that horrible hole in your bathroom and find a way to escape.
=== SiLeNT HiLL 4 - Playing the Game ===
The game was released in 2004 and as result, the graphics are mediocre. The action is believable but it is not remotely crisp or rendered anywhere near to today's levels of detail that you find in any game. However, as far as PS2 games go, it stands up well and the bleak and grainy atmosphere still has its benefits in creating the atmosphere of dirtiness and fear. The enemies are not frequent, but then again, neither are good weapons. Your characters lacks any special skills, he is as regular as you could ever imagine. You can arm yourself with something simple initially, such as a broken pipe wrenched from a wall or some other masonry. You do find guns and even big swords later on but the ammo is fairly scarce and you will not be able to shoot every enemy. This leads to a sort of ambiguous tension as you are forced to run from some enemies. The maps are intentionally confusing and the enemies are rather unsettling and gruesome at times. The story becomes more twisted and gripping, I found myself playing on just to unravel the story. As far as the game goes it has a fair flew flaws in the system of the game play but they are workable so you can still play the game once you are aware of them. Your character moves a little slowly and clumsily sometimes but maybe that adds to the sense of panic as you make for the nearest door with some horrible wretch on your tale.
The game throws you into increasingly bizarre settings, a bizarre woodland children's home, a hospital and even some bizarre prison/asylum. Each of these places will possess a little evidence to enlighten you on how to continue and they all bear significance later in the game. The game really shines when it comes to creating an ambience. The sounds are eerie and most places appear deserted and your surroundings are unpleasant and claustrophobic. You are forced to get your hands dirty; some places are really disgusting, so bad that even on a game it's unnerving to be there. If you can really allow yourself to get into this game then the very clever and twisting story will fascinate. That is definitely the best party of the game. When playing the game is can become a little tedious, but the goal of finding out the next piece of evidence or cracking that puzzle that has stumped you for half an hour is usually enough to push you on.
The plot I have mentioned is the tip of the iceberg and I had to stop myself from just spoiling it all that it's so interesting. It is a little far-fetched in terms of reality, but it he world of horror games the story works really well. The actual game is fairly enjoyable, fighting enemies is ok if a little tricky to get used to at first. Movement is ok although the camera angles can be very restrictive at times. There is not option to modify the view to any real extent. When in the apartment (in first person mode) it begins to alter without you doing anything, things break or change and it really does tax your brain to follow whets going on. However, if you are willing to be thorough and read the clues you find properly and try to piece together their relationships then you will be able to crack it in your own time. The change of viewpoints and the relative sanctuary of your apartment are refreshing features and keep the game a little glossier and varied. It is an element not present in any of the other games I have played in the series.
This game should take quite a few hours to complete, depending how fast you can solve its riddles and work what to do and where to do it. Personally, I found that two heads are better than one, I played with an ex-girlfriend of the time but if you can play through it with anyone, a friend basically then you will probably enjoy it a little more. The story is good to share and it definitely helps to have two people looking for clues and working out the whole baffling incident.
=== Overall ===
This game sports mediocre graphics but is somewhat supported by its intriguing story and atmospheric suspense. The plot is definitely the best aspect, even if some characters are a little underdeveloped or forgettable. The balance of action and suspense will appeal to people who like a mental challenge as well as a gaming one. You have to be able to kill whatever is thrown in your way, but there is plenty of skulking around in mysterious surroundings all alone, looking for clues and items you need to solve your next puzzle or to work out the whole insane scenario.
At times the niggling problems such as the slow character movement or the difficult you the game can lead you to feeling like you want to stop playing it but if you persist quite far into the game you will become more accustomed to the game and for most people, the plot will be difficult to leave half-finished. The difficulty of the enemies gets increasingly more towards the end with some being unkillable. You can find certain weapons, usually massive swords to kill them with, but you must leave the weapon behind in your victim or they will not stay dead. This makes you pick your battles very carefully.
The game sports no multiplayer options at all so relies completely on the appeal of the main game. It can be replayed if you wish, since you will know what to do a little better second time and also, there are four possible endings to achieve, some positive, others tragic. The ending depends on the fate of certain characters and a couple of key actions your character makes in his apartment and if I'm honest, I only completed this game once and got one of the two 'bad' endings. So despite a conclusion to the story, I was left feeling very tested by this game. If you are a novice you will probably struggle with this game, but it is plausible enough for you to share playing the game with a friend, preferably a skilled one.
To any casual gamer, I would suggest maybe playing the first silent hill, or if you're a little fickle, then one of the more recent editions on next generation console. (PS3/Xbox360) If you consider yourself more experienced and you like puzzling horror games then this might be a good option. I enjoyed it at the time but must admit it may not be as fun compared to the most recent releases. I would have to play it again to be sure.
You can find this game for bargain prices in high street shops and online due to it being for PS2 only. A game with what is initially a long lifespan but with little replay value. It would be perfect for a couple of marathon gaming sessions but I reckon you can complete it from start to finish in about 10 hours, the game tells you how long you took along with many other statistics upon its completion. I must stress that 10 hours is very optimistic and most people will find it takes much longer; this game will hurt your brain!!
also posted on www.ciao.co.uk
Silent Hill 4, the latest in the long running Silent Hill saga tries with some limited success to take the game into a different direction. Whilst fresh and innovative, it is not enough to break the game completly fro the rather lacklustre appeal it is now beginning to accumulate.
This is not down to the game per se, indeed it tries very hard to be original. However, much like the chained door that binds our tortured hero, the game is too damn linear, with too many features recycled from the previous games, and to be honest, its getting a bit tedious Konami!
SH 4 revolves around not fog-ridden and demented landscapes with bizzare cultists or possessed nurses, but in a small, and increasingly claustrophobic apartment. Henry Townsend, the protaginist of the game, after suffering a very vivd nightmare finds himself trapped in his apartment with the door chained from the inside and the windows barred.
Whats that? A bloody room? If I wanted to watch bloody torture with a flat i would have watched that f****** Claire Sweeney show! How can the game possibly offer any scares? Tension? DRAMA?
Actually, rather well. Henry uses a hole in his bathroom which acts as a portal to different locations of Ashfield, the townin which he resides, to which he will pick up items, solve puzzles and all the usual fare that is Silent Hill.
The graphics are nicely rendered, the cut scenes are fantastic with the characters faces and expressions rendered perfectly, and some nice cinematic effects such as black and white footage, graining etc.
The game does work up on turning up ever so gently the psychological tension and effect, what with strange noises and what not designed to unsettle the player. In quite a masterful stroke of genius, the room whilst Henry's "sanctuary" slowly becomes his tomb as it becomes increasingly unsafe and corurpted by the malignant forcs that so torment him so.
Being able to look ou the window and see people going on their business in total normalcy does drive home quite effectively the hopelessness of Henry's dilemma.
Sadly, this is the only real part of the game where the scares kick in, the levels which Henry works his through are more mildly disgusting in their implications than actually frightening, and are too damn similar to previous titles to have much effect. A hospital, spooky forest, abandonded apartment block and an asylum anyone? How original.... They say when you are lost, you should take comfort in finding recognisable landmarks. Konami we dont mean that literally!
The game is in a word linear. Too linear. There is no real major developments in terms of the plot or the levels, simply you attend about 4 or 5 different levels, and then revisit them, excpet with some new item to solve some puzzle.
It makes for sloppy and half-arsed gameplay, and it does jar somewhat with the creepy ambience. The combat and movement system is now much more reactive, and easier to use, rather than a slow, ponderous swing of whatever weapon you happened to use as in the previous titles, now, combat is much easier.
Previously, you had the luxury of a large inventory no so in SH 4. Rather, you find yourself dashing between the level and the room so as to store items, and this does bulk the game out, but its pedantic and anal and serves you real purpose. I mean a small key takes the same level of space as a weapon? Shame on you Konami!
Which leads me to my next point, Henry is quite soon in the game, forced to protect his neighbour Eileen after she is attacked, and survives just. Henry has to make his way around the various levels, and not only watch his own ass, but watch out for Eileen who just cant goddamn WALK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its infuriating when chased by a ghost and Eileen decides that she is out of breath and needs a rest. To be honest, I found her inclusion (although pivotal to the plot) lightweight, pointless and pedantic. Much like the rest of the game actually.
The game will last about 10 hours, but with such half-hearted and somewhat lacklustre endings, you are in for a big disappointment.
Whilst the original Silent Hill may have borrowed heavily from survival-horror pioneer Resident Evil, it certainly upped the stakes when it came to the scares. Silent Hill was released back in 1999 and with its bizarre storyline, near-legendary fog-filled streets and terrifying alternate realms (bloody, hellish juxtapositions of environments already visited) meant it was something of a classic.
Utilising PS2 technology put its 2001 sequel in good stead as the imaginatively-named Silent Hill 2 proved a top-class scare-fest in its own right. A couple of years later and it was followed by the fabulous-looking Silent Hill 3 and it had become clear Konami had found a formula that worked nerve-shredding; psychological and intelligent horror games that rarely failed to engage the player. But by the time Silent Hill 3 had been released, fans were calling for change, as it appeared the basic gameplay had remained virtually untouched, and worryingly each new instalment seemed more linear than the last.
Inevitably enough, the series first real deviation comes in the form of Silent Hill 4: The Room (SH4), and be it for positive or negative reasons, will undoubtedly prove a talking point amongst gamers. Its still scary; its still remarkably twisted in a way that only Silent Hill ever is and it still takes great pleasure in meddling with the players mind, but beyond this, things are very different.
The central character this time around is Henry Townsend, a man who recently moved to South Ashfield Heights, Silent Hill. He discovers that his apartment, Room 302 (and the The Room to which the title refers) has become possessed by a force beyond his control - he is trapped. He also finds a hole has been knocked through his bathroom wall, which leads to various destinations in Silent Hill, each of which in turn contain holes themselves that lead back to The Room and (relative) safety. It is a fantastic innovation and without doubt the best original feature that SH4 has to offer. These sections are played out from a first-person perspective and form the central hub of the adventure; allowing you to move about the confines of Room 302, observing the bits of scenery, peering out of the windows so as to see part of the untouchable outside world, save, drop off items and read memos mysteriously left around the place.
The sections outside of the room (via the aforementioned hole) are more familiar fare, as they switch back to the more conventional third-person perspective. A Subway, Hospital and Forest are among the environments youll get to explore, with Henry having to fight the usual array of freakish foes, collect clue objects and weaponry, and solve the odd puzzle here and there too.
Those who have played any of the previous three games will notice a number of big changes. The controls have been given a make-over so that character movement is more lightweight, perhaps with a view to aiding combat (think GTAs method rather Resident Evils). Surprisingly, Konami have ditched the previously limitless inventory system and replaced it with an extremely restrictive one, which allows precious little room for guns and ammunition (clips are counted singularly) after medical kits and items are taken into account. As a result, youll find battling with golf clubs, spades and baseball bats preferable to the rather limited fire-arms.
Whilst youll get used to the controls with little trouble, the inventory system is, in truth, something of a fiddle its annoying that something as small as a key takes up the same equivalent space as a spade, and youll find yourself having to make many trips back to Room 302 to drop off items or (worse still) ignore them completely in the levels. The first half of the game works as a way of helping the player acclimatise to the changes, as well as setting the foundations for another truly disturbing story. By the series standard, it goes relatively easy on you for the first half of the adventure there are few tough enemies or difficult puzzles to negotiate and even if things do get a little hairy, you can always seek refuge in Room 302, whereby Henry can redeem energy if injured. Each of the early worlds works as a segment to add to your knowledge of the plot, and each section tends to end in a generally shocking manner the Subway section at the beginning sets the scene as a woman named Cynthia dies in Henrys arms; her body covered in gashes, her blood splattered about the walls, and some numbers carved into her flesh. With an eerie and tragic musical score humming along in the background, it is certainly among the most memorable, effective cut-scenes Ive ever seen in gaming, and from this point you know Henry is in for a long night. Before long, it emerges that there pattern-killer in Silent Hill, though that soon seems like the least of your troubles
Henrys neighbour Eileen (whom you can view at points through a peep-hole in the wall of Room 302) gets attacked but though badly injured, she survives. And its your job to protect her.
Brilliantly and without warning, SH4 then shoves you completely out of your comfort zone. As soon as you enter a door with the deliciously ominous Ever Downward written on it, the rules of the game change, and not favourably. You have to revisit the areas you have already explored, though this time youll find there are ghosts that will pursue you through walls if you cant contain them, then you are forced to move with much more haste difficult with Eileen in toe. The sanctuary that was Room 302 no longer heals Henry automatically, becoming susceptible to hauntings that are seriously harmful to your health, and to cap it all off a guy with a gun stalks you relentlessly in a manner not unlike that of the Tyrant in Resident Evil. Damn.
And this is how Silent Hill 4 gets at the player not through dark, tight, claustrophobic corridors or radios that spit-static when enemies approach as in previous games, but by turning the tables suddenly and making you play at its pace and not your own. With the inclusion of some difficult foes and the loss of the relative safe haven that was Room 302, there suddenly seem to be very few safe areas even when you want to save. And youll feel it gnawing away at your nerves very quickly its very clever.
Clever as it is, I didnt ultimately feel the new style of Silent Hill was better than the old perhaps its just that there were too many changes made too soon, and whilst the backtracking to The Room to drop off items opens up some very nice (and genuinely original) features, it can become a bit tiresome and the small inventory is simply a pain. Speaking of which, defending Eileen for such a large portion of the game would have been easier if she followed you a little closer and didnt continually take swipes at enemies that she really should be avoiding. If you walk too quickly, she begins to complain that her leg hurts, and if you walk through a door slightly too far ahead, you have to go back for her. Heaven help those who try to complete the game in less than two and-a-half hours, thats all I can say.
Visually its from a distinguished pedigree, with the cut-scenes once again proving the highlights, showing off some typically excellent character models and graining effects. However, the environments are a little samey and underwhelming in terms of design, and the limited level of interaction you have with the scenery makes it feel a little dated. Also, because of the lack of a torch, it cant match its predecessors for lighting effects and has therefore removed the series most conventional and successful method of creating tension.
Somehow it wouldnt be Silent Hill without some decidedly duff voice-acting, and in this respect Konami havent disappointed. The characters themselves are by no means bad, but by Silent Hills high standards, seem collectively to lack a little mystique, and next to SH3s troubled-but-amusing Heather, Henry seems uninspired. Fortunately, the music is rather better than the voicing; its one of the few franchises that has perfected the effect of its own style of sound, and stuck to it. Feel the hairs on your neck stand on end!
At around 9 hours first time through (and about 6 the second time), its certainly a little longer than most other survival-horror games on the PS2 which is heartening, though much of the good work is undone by the lazy endings. There are four different finales, and the one you get depends on your treatment of Eileen (i.e. keeping her alive) and how successfully you extinguish Room 302s hauntings. The two toughest endings to acquire are so similar that I initially thought I had got the same one twice the only difference being one line of dialogue at the end. Wheres the comedy UFO ending? And more importantly, what about the extras you are usually rewarded with?
Theres no BBFC certificate, although I would advise you stick to the 18+ age recommendation. Its psychological horror first and foremost but still has some gory moments too it didnt quite reduce me to a gibbering wreck, but all the same it isnt the kind of game to play when youre having the Vicar round for tea.
Silent Hill 4: The Room has some encouragingly-original touches and some genuinely great moments, but needless changes to the inventory system, dodgy A.I. and the emphasis on hand-held weapons rather takes the gloss off of the experience. An engaging story is what you get once again from Konami, and whilst in playability terms its the weakest Silent Hill, it is by far the most inventive. Silent Hill 5 should be interesting! Recommended for horror fans everyone else, try renting it.