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by Konami

Just when you can finally sleep with the lights off again, Konami changes all that. Konami just released their sequel to the sleeper hit, Silent Hill. This survival horror game creeps you out by using all your senses against you. Unfortunately, by trying to make sure that you are on edge, they overlook the fact that the story itself is confusing. It leaves you asking questions like "what happened to…?" Even with this flaw, it still has enough going for it to be a welcomed addition to your library.

PLAY02PB-01.jpg (7439 bytes)Losing a loved one is hard enough, but when our hero James receives a letter from his deceased wife, Mary, the stage is set for some major heartache. It has been three years since Mary passed away when James receives a message that Mary is in the quaint little town of Silent Hill. Emotions running rampant, James travels there to find out the meaning of the love note from hell. Soon, James realizes that there is more to this than just a letter. The town of Silent Hill is a curse to all those who enter.

PLAY07PB-01.jpg (5643 bytes)In order to solve the puzzle, you will need to rely on both your mind and your ability to tolerate violence. The riddles consist of the "find the object and use said object to retrieve another object or key type". If you have played any of the Resident Evil games, you should be familiar with the puzzles. They tend to be a bit more logical than in the RE games, however. This is refreshing considering that many people are getting tired of puzzles that have nothing to with the basis of the game at all. Monsters, monsters everywhere and what do you to have to fight them with? A wooden plank! The plank is just one of the few weapons James will come across to protect himself from the hordes of creatures of the night. Be aware, though, that some of the weapons affect you as well. Silent Hill 2 also has a limited supply of ammunition to go with the three guns. This prevents you from just shooting around like Dirty Harry; It makes you use the guns only when appropriate in order to survive.

PLAY04PB-01.jpg (5864 bytes)This game is all about atmosphere, and visually, it is bursting at the seams. To those who see this game and remark on how poor the quality of the game is because it is grainy looking and full of fog do not deserve to play it anyway. Sure the fog might have been necessary in the first Silent Hill, but it returns to add the uncertainty of what is lurking in the shadows. The grainy picture quality is reminiscent of the old horror films and adds a bit of nostalgia to a new game. For those of you who absolutely hate the graininess, it can be turned off once you complete the game. If you have ever seen the movie House on Haunted Hill then the creatures might look somewhat familiar to you. Whether it’s the patients or the nurses, each monster moves with a twitching that will make your hair stand on end. In direct contrast to the monsters is the natural animation of James. Whether it’s running or pummeling something with a pipe, he moves with life even though he may look like death warmed over. (but who wouldn’t in the same situation?) The camera angles still have the persistent blind corners in which you cannot see what is ahead of you. This is alleviated somewhat by the addition of a button command to rotate the camera around to see what lies ahead. Even though it cannot work in every single spot, it helps dramatically whenever you turn around.

PLAY03PB-01.jpg (5949 bytes)Every storyteller knows that you need sound that enforces the visuals. Psycho is an example of a movie that takes advantage of a superb soundtrack along with the visual mastery. Silent Hill 2 also has amazing sound to go along with the graphics. Many times the sound will pick up whenever a situation arises where you need to be on your toes. Haunting your ears is not only done by the music but the sound effects as well. The shuffling of feet and the thumping of a pipe are just a few of the sound that you will hear as you walk the streets of Silent Hill.

PLAY08PB-01.jpg (6068 bytes)The controls take advantage of the pressure sensitive buttons found on the Dual Shock 2 controller. How hard you press the action button determines the strike used against an enemy. The rest of the controls live up to the expectations of a PS2 game. They do not try anything fancy and allow all those who have played any of this genre before the opportunity to pick it up and play. Even the game controller adds to the entire experience of the game with the use of the vibration feature. When you take too much damage you will begin to feel a pulse coming from the controller . As your condition deteriorates, it will become more erratic.

DEMO01PB-02.jpg (6271 bytes)Silent Hill 2 follows your basic sequel pattern which stays true to the original without trying to do anything major to set itself apart from it. If you like the original, you should already have this. If you don’t, go get it. For those who have never played any game of this type before, this is a good one to begin with. Whether you’re playing for the first time or the tenth, whatever you do, do not play this game with the lights ON.

Jake Carder   (10/14/2001)


Ups: Atmosphere; great sound; gives us just what we expect.

Downs: Too many holes in the plotline; gives us just what we expect.

Sony PlayStation 2