Rerun Review: This room comes with everything! Monstrous fiends, bloody entrails, stabbing and slamming weapons galore, oh and no naked Eileen. Well, almost everything...
Inside and outside, there's a darkness waiting, watching, lurking, levitating, sneering, and scaring whether you notice it or not. Konami's mind has been affected by its sickness, its madness, and its wrath. It wants to get you. It wants to find you. It wants to curse you, and play with you. Everyone has an inner demon, and Konami always knows how to express theirs -- through the most terrifying of evils in video game horror masterpieces. The series that diseases the eyes and rips the flesh from our bones. The series that you think can't get any more gross, but then it does. The series that's name Silent Hill returns the gamer back to the alternate dimension of this elaborate and decrepit world filled with horrors so terrible that death is the only embracing element you'll want to welcome.
Who magically barricades the exit to their apartment with chains and bolts, seals the windows shut, and keeps a man still inside from escaping? Whoever it is, they must want him to come over to their side of the tracks pretty badly. Henry Townsend has been stuck inside his apartment for the last five days now. Ever since the recurring nightmare started -- with the alterations of his deteriorating living space and one demon tearing through the wall -- he's been locked up. And that's when everything went awry. He doesn't know how it got there, but it's there. A gaping hole has emerged next to his toilet. There's no knowing the who, what, why, when, and how's of its existence, but if it leads to his escape from the cage he's been a part of for far too long, then it means he's going to journey through it, entering into a dimension where the answers lie past the blood-hungry fiends that kill...
Just one year ago, Silent Hill 3 was scaring PlayStation 2 owners stiff. Not long after, Silent Hill 4: The Room was announced...and not just for the PlayStation 2 alone. For the first time, a Silent Hill game's release plans were expanded to a simultaneous launch across the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, and the PC on the same date. This was all an unexpected move for gamers, as Konami's horror franchise has never gotten a sequel so soon and on multiplatforms so quickly. What the final result of all this has led to is actually the strangest, most bizarre manifestation Konami has been the bearer of. In a whole new step toward a whole new light for the series, Silent Hill 4 keeps players from escaping the nightmare they're bound to. Living in a real world as a real man in a real apartment building, Henry literally cannot get out of his living space and so he must wander back and forth between his dimension and that of the creatures. And it's through this chain of events that the game starts out in desperation, but will shift into an entirely unexpected perspective.
How it all works once Henry discovers the portal that leads to the alternative side, is that you can roam around in Silent Hill and kill any killable monsters, solve any solvable puzzles, and pass through any open passage ways just as long as you're able to take a time out from the death, destruction, and mayhem every once in a while. For, Henry's apartment acts as a central hub to the game. It's significant, because this is the place where Konami has allotted the only method for saving progress of your adventure. Also found here is a storage bin for filling items with you won't need to carry along with you in your perilous quest for answers. Konami changed the item management system in this way so as to simplify the previous games' path for extract: in which you'd press select, browse through a list of items, and choose what you need. Forgoing this option for a menu system that's now incorporated any time in the middle of the game by pressing the square button instead leaves open an easier access route to quickly selecting weapons, puzzle pieces, or refreshments. There are faults in this newly integrated design of the menu, however, since you can only carry so much at a time (10 collectibles in all). Bullets for instance aren't grouped into single packets. They're sorted into individual components that accumulate space so long as you're not using them. But even then the game provides little in the way of either ammunition or health. Therefore, it's really a matter of saving the bullets and health supplies only special occasions.
Though you're not required to wield the handgun, it does make for a better defense against creatures at later moments in the game when enemies start to get tougher. Warped and twisted, the deformations of Silent Hill have for the most of it picked up on a totally new trace of scent for your senses. Their aroma is villainous in unimaginable imaginations. They ship in multi-headed and skinless ape-like sizes, odd-colored dog sizes, wasp and leech, and two-headed, two handed, felted-hair crawling things too. Even the walls are your enemies, as wailing heads and clawing hands will strike from out here. So will invulnerable ghosts peel from it, float, and stalk you your way always decreasing your life the more your presences cross paths. What's interesting about that, is that Silent Hill 4 introduces for the first time a health meter that measures the vitals of your present stay inside the down spiral of each level. Monsters will take this way. Health drinks or revisiting your apartment through a portal will bring it back. It's the balance between these anomalies that keep a degrading interest in the game, as the more Henry seeps into Silent Hill's underlying meanings, the more his apartment will deteriorate, and then their world latches into his and his into theirs.
Evil may not resemble you at times, but that doesn't mean it doesn't bleed. Clearing out Silent Hill's stink hole, you'll find a number of accessories with which to smack ugly upside the head. Some weapons are familiar, like a steel pipe and the aforementioned handgun. Others are new, such as destructible golf clubs, a wine bottle, an axe, and even specialty weapons that work against those that cannot be harmed. Ghosts are people that appear in humanoid bodies. They can be shot and whacked, but they can never stay still for long. Therefore you'll be put in the position of having to run away from these devils, until at later points in the game when you'll finally receive items like the sword of obedience that can pin them to the ground for elongated periods of time. Puzzles in Silent Hill 4 are some new and some old, which for better or worse isn't really either. Locating keys to doors is one part, where other times you'll have to align a series of maneuverable prison rooms or need to bring back a filthy gold coin to your apartment for cleansing purposes to use inside the otherwise diseased Silent Hill environment. The game's riddles aren't all too tough, but they're enough to satisfy the thinking cap on your head.
Tweaked gameplay in Silent Hill 4 gets itself a set of some spanking new but similar guidance. Holding down R2 raises a weapon in question, where X will execute its attributes. Pressing circle in conjunction with R2 lets players now hop backward or sideways to distance themselves from enemy advances. Holding onto circle by its lonesome will allow Henry to flee. Square brings up the in-game menu, which literally can be seen during the game now. Triangle, as always, heads straight to the map function, in addition to a scrapbook layer where Henry stores all his gathered articles of information. Tap L2, and you can direct your line of sight forward or closer to fix the camera. In which, the camera itself is not as loose as it was in the last game, and is now manageable without a struggle. It'll probably take at most about 15 minutes for those already familiar with the series to properly reconnect to its roots and untapped qualities. For others, perhaps half an hour at best.
Over here, over there, over everywhere...there's muck. Muck that sticks to the floor, the ceiling, the windows, the tables, the walls, under the sink and inside; in the toilet and around the crevice; on doors and light bulbs, Silent Hill 4 is a filthy world. But that's how monsters, and you their food, will like it. Always has been and always will be, Silent Hill is represented from its starting point inside Henry's apartment that's located in Ashford, a town not too far off from this tourist location. Henry's apartment is always viewed in a first person view, where you can see pictures and paintings, couches and chairs, and tables lined up around the tiny interior where a bedroom, a bathroom, a living area, a kitchen, a storage and laundry room all fit together behind the entrance that's been stapled shut with chains hung in all manners across it. Henry's apartment isn't an eye popping hot spot, it being old and worn to the eyes. Yet, what's interesting the most about it is the way you can interact with the place and watch it change into something else. You can look through any of Henry's four windows to the opposite side of the apartment to where neighbors go on about their daily business, from pointing fingers at buildings to "controlling their joystick." Henry's front door and wall have their own separate peephole where he can watch scripted sequences pertaining to his imprisonment, amongst other daily Eileen activities. And, as the game drives on forward, the apartment itself ages with yellow coloring and scars with cracks in the walls, eventually transforming into a dark habitat where evil stirs.
Look past the life you once knew into one you'll figure through, finding a diverse center of Silent Hill entry points. Past the forest maze, past the water tower prison, past the journey into a terminal apartment and a devious new hospital, Henry will journey the path of wrongness in darkness to shed some light on his reasons for being there. These levels and more are submerged in morbid and eerie, and choice in fabrication with that. A grainy filtered camera along with detailed textures on blackened, blood soaked and smeared floors featuring beaten boxes, trash, cars, misaligned bars, worn down tables and many other miscellaneous objects all help to flesh out the creepiness of Silent Hill's latest unfriendly environments. Oddly enough, fog and blinding darkness are elements that do not preside much or at all in this new adventure. Silent Hill 4 is the first iteration of the series to abandon its pocketed flashlight. Much of the game is traveled in lighted areas, which come to think of it, actually diminishes the overall spooky factor of the game.
Man. Monster. Two entities together, two that act different, yet are of similar values...admirable. Henry fits the typical profile for your average "man vs. thing" guy in your everyday casual getup. White undershirt w/ long sleeved blue buttoned down shirt on top, navy blue jeans, and questioning eyes covered with sinking medium brown hair. He aims a gun simple and straight, and he moves his arms up like a batter at the plate -- ready to strike from overhead or sideways whenever grasping a pipe, a golf club, or even a baseball bat. He runs and walks like the every man, which Konami does right. Monsters are the other stuff there is in the game (mostly). Apparitions have some of the best moments in the game, when an icky black substance suddenly resonates from the wall, a dead person reels from the goo floating with their body in a hunched manner, and is ready to stick their arm into your chest. When dogs approach, you can see the red tongue slinking from their mouth as they plot toward you slowly and at times hurriedly. Plump pink gorillas drop from above and swing their muscle arms in a beastly manner. Leeches slither with glistening and wriggly motion. These guys all may be ugly, but they're not bad to look at with Konami's consistency of properly attiring their stars and stains: whether they are the player or the ruinous filth that stands in the way.
Got voices in your head? You're not alone. Konami's Silent Hill is back on track with a brand-new storyline that's illustrated only more so by the people that act on the characters' behalves. Forces of good, evil, and the ugly have their way of speaking out dramatically and articulately. Talents in the way of Henry sounds like a mellow guy, who turns to awe, to reason, to fear, and a list of other emotions when chatting with himself or those he meets inside the path of destruction. Spy on Eileen or through Henry's peephole, and you can see and hear daily triggered conversations ranging from neighbors and the super independent wondering what's up with you not answering the door, to Eileen laughing at the television or discussing unheard matters on the phone. However, it's definitely the evolving story that lies within Silent Hill where you'll get the peak of performance from the actors' as you'll get to view some of the most inspired death sequences in gaming right here. Great cast. Great acting. Good going, Konami.
Have it. Hear it. Hail it. Konami presented gamers with a very special bonus in last year's Silent Hill package. No, it wasn't a real life crawling hand. Although, that would've been nice. No, instead they rewarded buyers with a free Silent Hill 3 soundtrack. What nice folks. This year they've done it again, only not as direct. For those gamers who were smart enough to have reserved Silent Hill 4, there'd be a free Silent Hill 4: The Room soundtrack with your name on it (psst...it's invisible). The soundtrack itself is composed by the series' music director, Akira Yamaoka, yet again reaching a well-balanced mix of dreary, dynamic, and some soft acoustic and synthesized scores too. The strange thing is, the music vanishes from inside the game itself at times, as you'll see that many areas seem to subtract it from existence. Despite this, what's heard in the game is still of moody goodness when it is around.
Fear does its job the best when it's touching you in all your sensitive parts (even the unmentionables). But for Konami's Silent Hill game, sound has been one of the most vital of elements of strength. Like with the visual property of the flashlight, Konami has stripped the fourth for what the other games would use to enhance the experience only further: the static radio. No longer do you have to shine your beam on darkness or listen for the crackling approach of danger. Now enemies often tend to reveal themselves quicker without much surprise. Ultimately, Silent Hill 4 is less scary in nature than the ones before it, though it isn't without its own merits. Effects ranging from deadly dogs trotting, growling, and cryptically wrestling in death before they receive the final blow and howl like a mountain lion, to the aural ringing directed from the presence of a demon ghost add to the chilling and messy fun within. Henry's swishing, gun blasting, and footsteps across sloppy, wooden, grated and other surfaces are pitched right. Scripted events, such as a wolf howling, a monster roaring, or demonic whispering amongst other variables additionally contribute to the benefit of the good, just not phenomenal sound design.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Mesa already poopin' all mesa could last year!" Well, I've got news for you Jar Jar Binks imitators; Konami thinks you've still got more excretion hidden somewhere. They've designed this fourth Silent Hill specifically for that purpose. They're double checking to make sure the ever-living crap dormant inside of you is dug up and outward so your nerves shake and shiver, your bone marrow quakes and quivers, and your whole body squeals like a piggy when Silent Hill 4: The Room internally possesses your inner fears to make one hell of a Hill beginning .Even if you're not out to get the game, it's bent on getting to you. It knows where you work, so you can't run. It knows where you live, so you can't hide. So open up your room already and say, "Ahhhh!" Or would you rather they do it for you, sissy?