The real silent Hill Experience




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FUNGO

Well, Christophe Gans says right here:


Fungo reads from an interview Shane Bettenhausen of 1up.com conducted with Gans.
"For every fan that has read the synopsis of the first game's story in the strategy guide of Silent Hill 3, they all know that we are dealing with doppelgangers..."

- Christophe Gans


ROSSETER

... Really? Doppelgangers?


FUNGO

Doppelgangers.


ROSSETER

Anyway, when Sharon arrives in Silent Hill she runs off on her own like an idiot and keeps on doing it. Her mother, Rose, has to continually chase after her with the help of butch-dyke Cybil. In the end, the devil uses Rose as a flesh taxi into the church, whereupon the devil exacts Alessa's revenge.


Rosseter does an impression of Rod Serling.
Sharon Da Silva, age ten. A girl who's only crime was bearing the likeness of a demon. Her mother's efforts bought them both a one-way ticket home. Last stop, the Twilight Zone.
FUNGO

So, as you can see, the plot isn't exactly faithful. In fact, it really has nothing to do with Silent Hill...


ROSSETER

At all.
FUNGO

... just like the comics. So you take the title away and you're left with a plain, boring movie with major plot holes. Oftentimes there are no reasons for the behavior of the characters. For example, Rose is reaching into a dead body's mouth because the message on the wall dared her to.
ROSSETER

Double-dared.


FUNGO

Yes. The character Rose is derived from Harry Mason. This is because Christophe Gans believes that Harry Mason acts like a woman. I suppose Gans believes that men should not care about their children as much as women. This is the only explanation we can come up with, as we think Harry responds to the situation as any normal father would.


ROSSETER

Well, as you can see from these two quotes, the real reason for the gender change has absolutely nothing to do with Gans' interpretation of Harry's behavior. It turns out it's just good old-fashioned sexism. Well done.


"Christophe wanted the movie to be oestrogen-filled."

- Roger Avery


"I like women — I like to f*** the American bimbo. I want to make a movie with no men and have sexy women throughout. Women everywhere. I don't want to have all these men to deal with or the attitudes of men."

- Roger Avery (doing an impression of Christophe Gans)


FUNGO

In the scene where Rose stops at the gas station, Cybil Bennett, the officer from "Brahams", seems to harbor undue suspicions about Rose and her daughter. Rose's response is to act suspiciously by attempting to evade the officer, and this is why Cybil acts like a complete douche for the rest of the movie.


Quick zoom on DerFuzhwar spinning in a chair to face the camera. He delivers his line in a French accent.
DERFUZHWAR

A complete douche!


FUNGO

This is a problem when the movie wants us to regard her as a hero when she sacrifices herself to help Rose, uncharacteristic of her established personality.


ROSSETER

The leader of the Puritans is Christabella, a pyromaniac whose only solution to a problem is to "burn the witch". Her name is probably taken from Dying Inside, but as we know, the character in the comic is a ghostly little demon girl and nothing like the Borg queen.


Dahlia Gillespie makes the jump from the fanatical cult leader mastermind antagonist of Silent Hill 1 to an innocuous, nut bar-insane, apocalypse-preaching, homeless woman.
As we stated earlier, Christopher Da Silva, Rose's husband, was further developed in the script so that there would be at least one male character. As a result, it ends up feeling like we're watching two separate things; The Wickerman and Law and Order. Christopher Da Silva's story is pretty much just clips of him breaking into places and being tough-talked by Officer Gucci.
FUNGO

According to Christophe Gans, Silent Hill takes place in four dimensions.


ROSSETER

He said this in an interview with Douchebag Bettenhausen of 1up.com.


FUNGO

Not four, no. In Silent Hill everything is real, and in one dimension. In Silent Hill 1, the town is the demon's projection of Alessa's nightmare. In Silent Hill 2, the spiritual power projects a nightmare tailor-made specifically for you. In Silent Hill 3, it is the power of the demon awakening inside Heather. In Silent Hill 4, the town is a complete fabrication inside Walter's whacked-out head (and is therefore breaking the rules). But no matter the situation, it's always happening in...


A motion graphic of the words "OUR OWN DIMENSION" in front of a hypnotic, swirling background.
ROSSETER

... our own dimension!


In the same interview, Gans is quoted saying:
"...This film is dealing with a child of 10 who's being tortured."
"...If you want to tell the story of Silent Hill and make the meaning of that story complete, you have to face up to the torture of Alessa. It's a town of people trapped in dark dreams, and she inflicts onto the town what those people did to her body. That is, to me, the meaning of the darkness. The appearance of the town is corrupted in the way that her own flesh was wounded."

- Christophe Gans


When Alessa was burned in the game, no one was involved other than herself. She did it by accident due to the stress induced by the cult's practices, as is evident in the Manifestation of Delusions and boiler explosion articles. In her attempt to stop the cult by spreading the Seal of Metatron throughout the town, she spreads the nightmare, also unintentionally. She doesn't do it on purpose because she is good.
FUNGO

She's good.


ROSSETER

She's not bad, she's not evil, and she's not the devil. It's not that Cheryl is good and Alessa is bad, they're both just two iterations of the same person. A soul split in half. The Alessa we see throughout Silent Hill 1 is really Cheryl transformed back to Alessa.


FUNGO

So, as a Silent Hill movie, this is a failure. For a movie about a game series that is praised as one of the scariest of all, it is laughable and boring. And now we must burn it as a witch! Burn it!


A parody of the Silent Hill movie's infamous witch burning cutscene. The Silent Hill DVD case takes Cybil's place on the ladder.
We're just kidding! We have the movie right here.
Fungo holds up the Silent Hill DVD, then immediately snaps it in half.
That's that. The evil's gone.
ROSSETER

Finally!
FUNGO

Now, three weeks before the movie release, a promotional item exclusively for the Space Station Portable came out called The Silent Hill Experience. It was basically a $20 advertisement for the film, plus some of the comics we mentioned earlier... and a new one!
ROSSETER

Hey!
FUNGO

Hey!
ROSSETER

Hey!
FUNGO

Silent Hill: Hunger. And that's all there is to be said.
ROSSETER

Yup.
FUNGO

Hey, we didn't read the Hunger because it was written by Scott Ciencin and bound to be awful.
ROSSETER

Not interested in it at all. Don't care.


FUNGO

Not that guy.


ROSSETER

There were many other such spin-offs, including the Silent Hill Play Novel, which was made exclusively in Japan for the Game Boy Advance as a "choose your own adventure" story based on the events of the first game.


FUNGO

You know, I couldn't get very far. It's difficult to read... It was nothing special, so you're not missing out.


ROSSETER

There are a few cellphone games, one called Orphan. As far as we can tell, it's about Alessa and her sister Karen who were dumped in an orphanage. Alessa made Karen kill everyone there. To be continued...


FUNGO

And there's frightening tree with fruits that... wear faces of children!


ROSSETER

The story of the second Orphan game is completely baffling. It may or may not be about a guy named Lucas who doesn't remember anything and wasn't killed by Karen, who might be his mother. Then Vincent shows up and he knows nothing about anything, and he could be Lucas' father. The rest is just general confusion. To be continued...


FUNGO

Hey, did you know there was an arcade machine based on Silent Hill exclusively in Japan?


ROSSETER

Yeah, because I wrote this part.


FUNGO

Okay. The game is an on-rails shooter, similar to Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, where players shoot their way through familiar environments and fight monsters from all games in the series. There's barely any story, but that's fine. The game is of no consequence, and actually looks kinda fun.


ROSSETER

While many spin-offs were released for various handheld platforms, a supposedly legitimate Silent Hill game was developed for a handheld system, breaking the tradition of console releases.



08: ORIGINS
FUNGO

Silent Hill: Origins was announced for the Space Station Portable in 2006 under the title Silent Hill: Original Sin.


ROSSETER

Really? ... Original...


FUNGO

Yeah... This move was partly a business decision to put the first survival horror game on the PST. Around this time is when fans first speculated that Team Silent would not be involved in future Silent Hill games. Well, fans were right. Climax U.S. studios began development on quite a different game, as you can see from this early preview of the game. If you took this game and put it in a different setting with an original story, we would definitely give it a try; it looks pretty fun. Unfortunately, the game had a horrible steaming pile of monster design.


Looks like the Terminator covered in bubblegum. In fact, all of the monsters are just covered in gum. Oh, what do you know.
As you can probably see, the earlier builds of the game were shaping up to be a dismal-
ROSSETER

Awful!
FUNGO

... dismal portrayal of Silent Hill and its legacy.
ROSSETER

This is when rumors started circulating about Climax's development staff. Apparently, the U.S. team liquidated due to mismanagement and ridiculous deadlines. It was even rumored that the company lost their lead designer and artist, as well as 16 other employees, which they didn't replace. Despite this, Climax Studios still planned on releasing the game on the deadline, only dumbed down and much shorter. Konami was not happy with this progress and decided to transfer production overseas to Climax UK to be completed as planned. This changed a variety of gameplay elements, including the monster design, camera angles, and combat system in an attempt to make it more like a traditional Silent Hill game. Silent Hill Origins was released on November 6th 2007, a year after the target release date.


FUNGO

The first thing we noticed when playing this game were the unresponsive controls. 3D controls have been tossed aside and were replaced with this combination 2D/3D mix that is more 2D than 3D. Travis often seem reluctant to move in any direction you command him to, and there's a one second delay between walking and running after pushing the button. The stamina system is completely broken; after a while he will get tired and start running painfully slow, but it doesn't take long for this to wear off and Travis will keep running like he was never even tired in the first place. They provide energy drinks to recover stamina, but we have never used one as they are completely unnecessary.


ROSSETER

Combat is clunky and disconnected. You never really know if a button press will register or not. The finishing animations seem hilariously weak, as if he's just touching the enemies with his weapons — his deteriorating weapons. When a weapon breaks, Travis is left to either fight with his fists or sort through the ironically named "quick menu". If you're holding a throwable weapon and a galloping patient demon jumps you, say goodbye to that weapon. But it doesn't matter because Travis is carrying seventy more!


FUNGO

We mean that literally. 70 weapons. In his pocket.


ROSSETER

It's not unusual for a video game character to be carrying around multiple large objects on his person, but this is just incredible. And the menu, rather than the traditional Silent Hill menu, looks copied from Condemned: Criminal Origins... (Origins?)


FUNGO

While we thought Original Sin had a steaming pile of monster design, Origins is not so steamy... but still a pile. Galloping Patient Demons, Penis Head Cows, Invisible Cage Ghosts, Movie Nurses, Crab-Walking... Things, A Bag of Mashed Potatoes Piggyback Riding On Other Bags of Mashed Potatoes, and apparently Silent Hill has the power to animate puppets.


One particular annoyance when fighting the monsters is the Penis Head Cow's ability to lunge at high speeds and hit you almost every time.
ROSSETER

Even when we wore the track suit and chugged all our energy drinks, it was still able to time its lunge perfectly.


FUNGO

All of these enemies are deaf. You can play through the game with the flashlight off, walking past all the enemies, and you never have to fight. But, good luck with that, because if you're using the PS2 version the game is too dark even with the flashlight on and the brightness maxed out.


Twice on Travis' Travels he encounters a menacing creature that stalks Silent Hill looking for other creatures to torture and kill. This creature is called Pyramid Head "The Butcher". It shows up once to introduce itself, then shows up again so that you can kill it. Wow. This is supposed to be a boss fight, but it doesn't really count as one because it just walks at you until you manage to pump enough bullets into it.
None of any of the monsters are threatening, and there is absolutely no disturbing imagery. At least throw us a dead body every once in a while. This game isn't even interesting, let alone scary.
ROSSETER

For the first time in a Silent Hill game, we are forced to engage in timed button pressing sequences, just like almost every game to come out since God of War. William Oertel, the producer himself, made this comparison in numerous pre-release interviews. I don't know about you, but we are sick and tired of playing games where you need to hit timed button sequences in order to perform mundane tasks. Thanks a lot, David Jaffe.


If we didn't know Origins was originally for the PSP and were judging it as a PS2 game, we would consider it a shameful disgrace. But, despite all of the problems we had with the game, we can tell that Climax really tried hard in making it, and it's a nice display of what the PSP is capable of in terms of gameplay and... general... graphics... and all that kind of stuff.
FUNGO

It was pretty good for Playstation Portable.


ROSSETER

When you compare it to other PSP games, this one is alright. But only as a stand-alone game. When it tries to fit itself into the story of Silent Hill is where the trouble starts...


FUNGO

Silent Hill Origins was made as a prequel, set seven years before the first Silent Hill. Its intention was to give players a better understanding of the events that led to Silent Hill 1. Let's find out how they did.


The game starts with Travis O'Grady, a trucker who's hauling his load through the town of Silent Hill. But, Alessa runs out in front of him. He gets out and she haunts him for awhile, then runs into the fog... Stop right there! Why is Travis abandoning his still-running truck on the highway in the middle of the night?
Anyway, he runs down the highway on foot until he eventually stumbles upon a burning house where the cult was performing "some kind of ritual". The cult also sealed Alessa's psychic power inside the flauros, which they split into pieces and hid in the "Otherworld". The rest of the game is about Alessa using Travis to collect all of the pieces to get her powers back. In the end she uses her power to transform Silent Hill into the "Otherworld".
Travis goes to the Egyptian tomb in the back of the antique shop where things get confusing. The cult is doing something to Alessa, whatever that is. Apparently, the flauros has gone from a device to trap Alessa's power to being a "cage for a demon" that will focus Alessa's power for whatever it is they are trying to do.
Kaufmann knocks Travis out with sleeping gas. Travis then fights the demon within the flauros while he is asleep. Travis defeats the alien demon lifeform, and then the flauros traps the demon again and makes a baby which the cult seems to ignore as Alessa takes it and dumps it on the side of the highway after saying goodbye to Travis. That's the good ending. In the bad ending, Travis is somewhere on some gurney for some reason realizing that he was the Butcher all along!
ROSSETER

The sub-plot of the game is that Travis is remembering things about his parents. His mother was in a mental institution, and his father hung himself in a motel. These "plot twists" are neither necessary nor surprising. Players are given painfully obvious clues about Travis' parents' fates for about an hour before each big reveal. The whole thing is arbitrary and is an imitation of the story of Silent Hill 2.


FUNGO

As for the main story, we really, really tried to figure out what was going on.


ROSSETER

For a long time.


FUNGO

Very confusing, especially towards the end. We think the confusion comes from the fact that the story is based on Dan Birlew's plot analysis found in the back of this strategy guide...


Rosseter holds up the Bradygames Official Silent Hill 3 Strategy Guide.
... and his other more detailed (I mean, it's detailed) analysis online.
ROSSETER

Like, a hundred pages detailed.


FUNGO

Many fans of the series regard the story as authentic, written by Team Silent themselves. This is a mistake, and it can be credited to Kristan Reed of eurogamer.net, who wrote the following in an interview with William Oertel:


"But don't worry: the game's 'incredibly convoluted' storyline was written by the Japanese team, and the soundtrack is still being provided by series composer Akira Yamaoka."

- Kristan Reed


Ms. Reed's misconception comes from this quote from Oertel in the same interview:
"The storyline is convoluted to say the least. The team in Japan has woven this really complicated story that when you try to figure out and isolate it, it shifts between different realities."

- William Oertel


What Oertel was saying is, "The team in Japan has woven this really complicated story [in the first few games]..." The story for Origins was written by someone named Sam Barlow... Dan Birlew/Sam Barlow?
FUNGO

That's a coincidence..?


ROSSETER

... who is certainly not a member of Team Silent. As for whether or not Mr. Barlow knew what he was writing, we lean toward the side of "no way".


FUNGO

No way!
ROSSETER

There are many inconsistencies, poor design decisions, and (dare-we-say) impossibilities(?) that keep the game from even coming close to having an authentic storyline.
FUNGO

We'll start with the characters. The game features four characters from Silent Hill 1: Dahlia Gillespie, Alessa Gillespie, Dr. Michael Kaufmann, and Lisa Garland. These characters seem to be stuck in some sort of time rift, as none of them age appropriately. Alessa doesn't even look like she belongs in the Silent Hill series, having just stepped off the Gummi Ship. Dahlia and Kaufmann suffer from mild progeria, in which both age rapidly from the appearance of being in their thirties to being in their sixties in the seven years that separate the games.


ROSSETER

And Lisa has apparently aged backwards!


FUNGO

The characters' behaviors have changed with Origins to fit its brand new misguided plot. For one, the fact that Kaufmann and Lisa have such a seedy relationship doesn't fit their characters at all! Lisa follows Travis around throughout the game like a lapdog, teasing him and acting obscenely. There's no reason for her to be everywhere Travis goes. She is only in the game to make the game's relation to the story of Silent Hill apparent.


ROSSETER

Travis' first encounter with another person is right in the beginning at the burning Gillespie house, where Dahlia is slinking around suspiciously outside. Are we to believe that Dahlia set the fire? This would be a direct contradiction to the first game in which Alessa burns the house herself. Wouldn't Dahlia be desperately trying to rescue her daughter, if only so that the cult's plan didn't fail?


Once inside, Travis finds Alessa's already charred body (though there is no fire damage near her). She begs Travis to let her die, but then helps Travis rescue her by putting the flames out with a magical, floating Halo of the Sun (which contradicts the request Alessa just made). Further complicating things is a report in the public records building that states the fire started on the second floor, but this is crossed out and the boiler explosion is written in later.
FUNGO

After much deliberation, we have finally figured out the information they are trying to convey. You think we got it?


ROSSETER

Yeah.
FUNGO

They are saying the cult started the fire on the second floor, and then the report was altered to be a boiler explosion as a cover-up. But the fact is, the cult was trying to perform the impregnation right in the Gillespie home when the boiler exploded accidentally due to Alessa's heightened stress level.
ROSSETER

What they don't realize is that the ritual can be performed without inflicting actual physical pain. Since Alessa is being impregnated in a physical sense, the demon is able to grow of its own accord, regardless of external stimulus. And if the ritual had succeeded, that would have been it! But, since the soul was split, Alessa was stuck with half of a crazy demon fetus giving her bad dreams. It may have needed those dreams to develop, as is the case with Heather, but it was most likely not required for the actual impregnation.


But since Heather is a reincarnation of Alessa, it can be said that the demon fetus is also a reincarnation. It is in this way limited in its potential, and therefore requires encouragement to fully manifest itself. This encouragement comes in the form of emotional pain and stress. When Heather is experiencing such stress, she doubles over in pain because the demon is becoming that much more physical in her body.
FUNGO

To reiterate, Alessa's demon didn't require stimulation as it was the original physical pregnancy. Heather was never impregnated, so emotional stress had to be inflicted in order to awaken and strengthen what was left of the demon after reincarnation.


ROSSETER

Of course, all of this is assuming we're following the plot as we understand it from the first game. As we will detail later, the plot in Origins is much, much different than the original, which is why it's so confusing when compared to the original. Origins is supposed to coincide with the impregnation ritual, but this ritual is never performed during Origins (not even here). The burning of Alessa is for an entirely different reason...


ROSSETER

So, going off of the plot of the first game, you can see why we're so confused.

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