The real silent Hill Experience




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DERFUZHWAR

The whole time you're playing, you're trying to relate where you are to what you know about the town from past games, which is imposhibibble because none of it looks the same. And, the map doesn't help you at anytime in any area. While it does look similar to the original map, it only helps when navigating the streets. When you're off the main street, the map doesn't seem to correspond with your real location, and the insides of areas are unmapped altogether. It's no help that doors are only noted at building entrances and nowhere else.


The only helpful feature is a waypoint system that gives you a general idea of the direction you should travel, but the actual map is incomprehensible, so it doesn't help in planning your route. In all previous games, the main character automatically fills in areas of interest as well as marking locked doors or blocked routes. In SHAZAM, there's a little Wiimote gimmick that allows you to draw on the map, so players are expected to make these notations manually. And we don't want to, so we don't.
ROSSETER

Guess what's back? On-screen button cues for when you can open a door or use an object. You need to have those because you're stupid and you've never played a game before. If you ever come to a locked door, 100% every time the key is located right around the corner. No thinking required. But to get the key, you have to solve a "puzzle". And because you're so stupid, what they call a puzzle never amounts to more than, "Hey, pick up the bread that's next to the toaster and put it into the toaster." Homecoming's retard baby puzzles are near MENSA level compared to this crap. We'd like to know how we got from "In here is a tragedy" to "shake a can". I guess you're just too stupid to handle any more than that-


DERFUZHWAR

Well, no, it's intuitive. They say it's intuitive.


ROSSETER

Oh, it's intuitive? Oh, it's intuitive! You're a genius! You figured out how to shake the can! You're a genius!


So, that accounts for all of the gameplay that is not nightmare or psychiatry related. When you are in the nightmare, monsters come out and try to get Harry.
DERFUZHWAR

Monsters?


ROSSETER

Yes, excuse me, I mean monster comes out and tries to get Harry. There is only one monster, and it's just a naked faceless guy. Yes, it changes appearance a bit based on your decisions, but it's still just a naked faceless guy. And it's not scary.


DERFUZHWAR

So, when monster tries to get Harry, you don't have time to look at stuff or make phone calls anymore due to all of the combat that you don't engage in. Combat is completely removed and replaced with hotfootin' it the frick outta there. In these sequences, you must find an escape route while trying not to get gang raped. Doors and ledges are highlighted in blue while stuff you can knock over or hide in (Silent Snake style) is indicated by a big, fat, white arrow. You need this, you're a retard. Because of all the bright and shiny indicators, the flashlight is not a necessity when searching for an escape route.


ROSSETER

You'd think that this would be a good thing, as turning the flashlight off would make it more difficult for the enemies to see you like in past games. But no, they spot you a mile off every damn time, flashlight or no... if they're around. By memorizing the quickest route through each area, you can reduce the chances of an encounter almost to zero. Oftentimes, we would wonder if the AI was glitching out and getting lost. Flares are provided to take the game from being easy to effortless, as the enemies will stop chasing you as long as the flare burns. This is one of the easiest games ever made for adults, and there is no difficulty level selection in the menu to add any sort of challenge. Just don't try to hide, because it never works.


DERFUZHWAR

When opening doors, you have the choice of charging straight through them or opening them slowly, taking the time to see what's on the other side. At first, this is a pretty cool concept, but you quickly realize that it's pointless. The blaring radio static gets louder whenever you place the cursor over a monster, and can detect them through walls, so you already know there's a monster before you get to the door. Even if the static doesn't tip you off and you slowly open the door to find that there is a monster, you still have to go through the door. The better option would have been to charge through and hopefully knock the monster off-balance. Not to mention all the time you wasted opening the door slowly so the monster following you could catch up. This mechanic persists in the non-nightmare portions of the game where there isn't any monster to attack you, so what's the point? The feature goes from being kind of cool to being completely ignored by the end of the game. At this point you're just holding the button down so Harry will go through the doors more quickly.


ROSSETER

So, these chase sequences are supposed to be scary.


DERFUZHWAR

Hey, lots of people think it's scary.


ROSSETER

Okay. That doesn't mean that they are. In fact, none of the game is scary in the slightest. The monster is funny-lookin' and doesn't appear outside of the nightmare world, which makes the normal world...


BOTH

... boooriiing!


ROSSETER

The nightmare itself just looks like you're in a giant ice cube tray. We find it hard to be scared while running around in a winter wonderland. Disturbing imagery is replaced with disturbing voice mail messages, and every once in a while you can see a ghost shadow of Cheryl. The game doesn't change at all, so you come to expect all this non-scary stuff, and it gets predictable and repetitive.


DERFUZHWAR

While the gameplay gets stale by the end, the controls remain excellent. They're the third person equivalent of Metroid Prime. Harry does exactly what you want him to do the whole time you're exploring the town. But, there are a few quirks that keep us from liking all of the controls.


ROSSETER

The phone controls are incredibly awkward. If you could use the touch screen on the phone it would be a lot easier, but you have to use the arrow keys to navigate and then press the "A" button which on screen is to the left but on the controller is down. So, you're trying to go by what you're looking at but the controller says, "No." Also, different buttons on the controller open different menus on the phone. So, you may or may not open the menu that you wanted to use when you push a button.


DERFUZHWAR

When monster jumps you in chase sequences, you are prompted to perform aerobic exercises. And it works sometimes.


Rosseter and DerFuzhwar follow along with the game's motion control prompts as if they are part of a jazzercise routine.
There are also sequences that pose the question, "How well can you mime?"
Rosseter and DerFuzhwar demonstrate the motion controls for the game's wheelchair and swimming portions.
ROSSETER

So, enough of this gameplay stuff. Let's get down to the real problems. It's time to tell you the story. The story for this game was written by Sam Barlow, that Origins guy. You want to know how he did with this one? Alright, here we go... You ready? Here we go...


Both stare at the screen for several moments.
ROSSETER

... And that's the story!


DERFUZHWAR

Well, it's not nothing, really, it's more that none of it really happened. It was all in Cheryl's head...


BOTH

Ooh..!
DERFUZHWAR

The story is really, "What if the bad ending in Silent Hill was the real one?" Except, before the car crash, Harry and Cheryl's mother got divorced. Or maybe they just didn't get along. Who cares? Cheryl is in therapy and, of course, she doesn't remember that Harry died (this is Silent Hill), so the whole game she was remembering things about her childhood using Harry as her brain avatar, which doesn't make sense and is really, really weird. The tape noise we mentioned before is supposed to be a representation of Cheryl's memory of her father as she watches it in home movies.
ROSSETER

The way she remembers Harry, and thus the way Harry experiences the memories, is based on the "psychological profile" that the game is supposed to be constructing about the player. This is the main feature about the game; that it changes based on what you do, and it's kind of cool.


DERFUZHWAR

Yeah, for the most part.


ROSSETER

When you first hear about this mechanic, and then the first time playing it, it seems like it would be a bit complicated, and they would like you to think that, but as long as you know the four different endings it's easy to figure out. They are: Harry was a good man, Harry was antisocial, Harry was a roaring drunk, and Harry was a...


BOTH

... Playaaa!


DERFUZHWAR

To steer the outcome to one of these four, all you have to do is act like one of them. The only things that decide which of the four personalities Harry will adopt are your answers to Kaufmann's questions and the stuff you look at in-game. Sometimes it's just, "Pick a door." When you're looking at stuff, unlike previous games you don't have to press a button, but instead just zoom in and Harry will comment automatically. Okay, fine, but if you play games like we do, you like to look at everything. You want to see all the stuff in the game. But, since the game uses this information to decide Harry's personality, it can be frustrating when the game suddenly decides you're a sex maniac because you looked at a calendar one time.


ROSSETER

The game uses your "psychological profile" to change elements of the game. A second playthrough reveals that the only things that change are the way the characters look, how they talk to you, and the subject matter of the text messages. The rest of the game remains unchanged. You do the same things, go the same places, and see the same people.


"I want to stress that the psych profile doesn't involve paths or 'tracks' like games with morality features. The game doesn't decide 'Oh, that guy's a _____ so he gets ending path B' which gives me a cohesive story straight through to a specific ending."

- Tomm Hulett


Actually, that's exactly what it's doing, except that instead of two outcomes it's four, and it can change midway. But, it's still just four outcomes.
DERFUZHWAR

The game features many characters that are supposedly reminiscent of the original Silent Hill characters, but none of them relate to the original game in any way. As we said, their personalities are based on how much of a douche you are in the game, but their actions remain the same regardless. If you don't act like a total sex fiend, Mariska Hargitay makes a guest appearance as Cybil Bennet, the officer not from Brahms. Harry's wife's name is Dahlia, and her character has no relation to the original. There are two new characters, Michelle and her boyfriend, John. We're thinking their actions are supposed to mirror Harry's divorce. Lisa's only apparent reason for being in the game is to have an overdose, and we don't know why that's relevant.


ROSSETER

By now, you can see quite clearly that this is not a Silent Hill game. And no, we're not saying that in the way other people say it, like, "Oh, they took the combat out, and camera angles suck, and mehmehmeh, and the ice world-" NO. Whether or not we like the combat or controls or whatever has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not we accept this as a Silent Hill game.


DERFUZHWAR

Look at Silent Hill 4. They changed the gameplay entirely, but it's still a Silent Hill game. You w3ant to know why?


ROSSETER

Why is that?


DERFUZHWAR

Basically, because it fits with the underlying story of the whole series, with the cult brainwashing kids, and Walter performing cult rituals, and so on. SHAZAM has nothing to do with anything, even after claiming to have used the plot of Silent Hill 1 as its basis. Isn't it supposed to be about impregnating Alessa and the flauros and the cult and all that crap?


ROSSETER

No, because that would be a remake, and this isn't a remake of the original game, is it? No, this is a, uh...


Rosseter and DerFuzhwar attempt to recall the word re-imagining. They are interrupted by a long string of clips of reviewers and Konami staff members saying the word. Rosseter gets fed up after awhile.
ROSSETER

Okay! Alright! Enough!


DERFUZHWAR

Okay, what does that even mean, anyway?


ROSSETER

Well, this is how Tomm Hulett, the game's producer, and Sam Barlow explain what a re-imagining entails:


"A remake would mean literally re-crafting the same content, the same gameplay, with some tweaks. That isn't this game. This shares the same starting point as SH1, but then uses it as a springboard to go to new interesting places."

- Sam Barlow


"...look at Nolan's Dark Knight and Burton's Batman. Both feature the caped crusader we all know fighting his greatest nemesis, the Joker. Both have a love interest. Both have Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon. But how similar are the two movies?"

- Tomm Hulett


The example Hulett gives is a good one, but how SHAZAM is a re-imagining of Silent Hill we don't know. According to the guys at Climax, the only requirements that must be met are that some of the characters are present and that it starts the same way, and after that, you can just do whatever you want. But, that's wrong. You also have to keep the same underlying story. Let's use Tomm Hulett's Batman example. The differences between Tim Burton's movies and Christopher Nolan's movies are obvious, but they have more in common than just the characters. They both feature a man whose parents were murdered in front of him, and to take vengeance, he fights crime. The fact that he fights, who he fights, and his reasons for doing so remain constant. What changes is only the way the story is told. This is how a re-imagining works.


DERFUZHWAR

But, what SHAZAM does is create an entirely new storyline based on a non-serious, "hey wouldn't this be cool" ending. So really, the whole game is based on this idea of, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if this was what Silent Hill was about?" And, no, it isn't. A retelling of the first Silent Hill game has to feature more than just "Harry had a car crash" because the entire series really begins with the cult's failure to impregnate Alessa. A Silent Hill game without some influence from the cult is like a Batman movie without Batman. And, not only are they changing the story of Silent Hill 1, but they're not starting their new story the same way as the original like they say they are.


The reason Harry crashes in the real story is because of Alessa. In SHAZAM, it's because Harry is driving like an idiot in the middle of a snowstorm. They also changed the fact that Harry's wife is supposed to be dead. They say nothing of whether or not Cheryl is Harry's biological daughter, so we're assuming she is. And, instead of he and Cheryl being on vacation in Silent Hill, they live there.
ROSSETER

See, they didn't "re-imagine Silent Hill and use the start of the story as a basis to go in a new direction". No, they just made a completely different game altogether. If they really had tried to re-imagine Silent Hill as per the meaning of the word, it would have to follow the plot as they understand it, and so it would have to have something to do with Alessa's revenge, or whatever they think it is. And it's not even close to that.


What they did was try to change what Silent Hill as a series was really about. Climax, you changed the story, you changed the characters, you changed the town, you changed the gameplay, you changed the controls, you changed the monsters, you changed the nightmare, you changed the reason for the nightmare, and you changed the overall message, so you tell me — in what way is this a Silent Hill game?
DERFUZHWAR

To put all that more simply, the guys at Climax still don't know what Silent Hill is about, so instead of trying to make another Silent Hill game and failing again, they made their own completely new game, slapped the Silent Hill title onto it, and called it a re-imagining. They've taken that word and latched onto it, and now they're clinging to it for dear life because they know it's the only way they can get away with what they've done. That's why when asked about the plot it's the first thing out of their mouths. That word is just their excuse for not knowing what to do.


ROSSETER

Okay! So far in the video, we've been going over incongruities in the storylines of all these games, but that's not all there is to it. In the next few analysis sections, we're going to go over the themes present in the games and examine why Silent Hill isn't just about the story, and why you can like the individual games all you want (the new ones), but you cannot accept them as real Silent Hill games. If you disagree with us after the next few sections, by all means, go play through SHAZAM a couple more times. You deserve it. You want to be treated like a retard? Here. Here's a coloring book, retard.


DerFuzhwar hands Rosseter a coloring book, which Rosseter throws to the floor.
Rosseter and DerFuzhwar are lying on their stomachs on the floor coloring in coloring books. Rosseter informs Fuzh that his coloring indicates his obsession with drinking. Dialogue is improvised.
ROSSETER

SHAZAM!


11: ANALYSIS 1

THE TOWN
ROSSETER

The concept behind the design of the town in the first games was to create a contrast between feeling confined and simultaneously alone in a vast environment. It is a genius concept to make a player feel claustrophobic in a wide open space. Silent Hill 1's fog and darkness kept you constantly struggling to see something that is ten feet in front of you, while the town was vast and the streets ridiculously huge. Silent Hill 2 and 3 used cramped streets in combination with distant camera shots to make you feel small and vulnerable. Silent Hill Origins and Homecoming fail outright in this regard.
In Origins, the fog is way too bright and the low camera view allows you to see too much of the sky, which makes the town feel sparse. Plus, some camera views make the area look like they never even finished modeling the game map. The town does not look like Silent Hill. Homecoming just copied the movie, even going so far as to use cracked, steaming holes in the ground from the coal mine fire that never happened.
FUNGO

That didn't happen..?


Origins went on to change the map by adding new areas, which was fine, even though their design was uninspired (e.g. Silent Hill's street names are named for famous authors and directors; Origins has "Industry Drive"). Homecoming completely disregards any map changes for Silent Hill Origins, and even the original Silent Hill 1 map itself. Some may be thinking, "It has been thirty or so years since Silent Hill 1." First off, no it hasn't... we'll get to that, and second, we'd like to know what city planner decided it would be a good idea to put a state penitentiary right in the middle of the shopping district of a resort town. That's not a good idea.
ROSSETER

While we're on the subject of city planning, let's take a look at Silent Hill's hospitals. Originally, Silent Hill had two hospitals: Alchemilla Hospital, which was the standard medical center, and Brookhaven Hospital, which was a mental institution. Origins decided that this wasn't enough, so they added a second mental institution, Oak Grove Sanitarium. This would make three different hospitals in the same small area. The guys who made Homecoming didn't pay attention to any of that and named Alchemilla Hospital an "asylum for the mentally ill". So, that means there are three mental institutions in one little resort town, and no regular hospitals.


Remember the theater, church, apartment building, and sanitarium from Origins? You know all these shops continuing pas the edge of the map on Sagan St.? Forget about all of it. Apparently it has all collapsed into the lake that isn't supposed to be there.


As for the town in SHAZAM, we've been referring to it as "Silent Petersburg". They've even got a nightclub called the "Balkan". The resort town has become a full-blown city located somewhere in Eurasia, and there are lots of people living there. No more does the player feel lost and alone with all these friggin' people hanging around.

TIMEFRAME


FUNGO

The creators of new material set themselves up for failure when they began planning their backstories to fit Silent Hill into a timeframe. While you can put a timeframe between games, you can't affix a date to any one game in the core series. Origins gives specific dates, placing the game around 1973. Homecoming is supposed to take place in 2007 according to the many internets.




ROSSETER

This is a picture of Harry Mason's car from the beginning of Silent Hill 1. This is a Jeep YJ Wrangler, as indicated by the body shape and square headlights. This model of Jeep was not available before 1987. This would put Origins' earliest possible date of occurrence at 1980, which effectively breaks the entire timeline.


FUNGO

Broken!
ROSSETER

The ones responsible for new publications didn't think it through when they started throwing dates around. Who are you going to believe, the original creators of the series or the people who think they are continuing it?
In the core games, any dates provided are either not given a year or the time relation is not specified. In addition, the spiritual power is able to bring pieces of the past to life, such as the prison or Alessa's classroom. The general timeframe given to the series is supposed to be "present day". The minute you start assigning dates, you get some problems.

THE STORY


FUNGO

All of these problems arise, as the sun doth rise, because the professional and public opinion of the direction of the series is skewed.


ROSSETER

Skee-ewed!


FUNGO

Few seem to actually know what Silent Hill is all about. It's not about Alessa. Silent Hill 1 was certainly about Alessa, but where was she in 2 and 4?


ROSSETER

Nowhere.
FUNGO

Little references, I guess..? It's not about "multiple dimensions", and it's not even about the town.
Silent Hill is about a spiritual power that the area around the town exudes, and more specifically about the cult's influence on that power.
ROSSETER

Yes.
FUNGO

Alessa is an important part of how the spiritual power was twisted, but she is not the subject of the story itself. She was a trigger. In current games, and even in the movie, Alessa's sole purpose is to make everyone's lives a living hell transforming the town, haunting people, and murdering. This is one twisted little girl if she can come up with this off the top of her head. The notion that she wants revenge for being tortured and burned alive is incorrect because, one, the fire was an accident, and two, she is inherently good, and doesn't want the cult to succeed in its practices, hence trying to spread the Seal of Metatron. Do you even know what that does?
ROSSETER

The Seal of Metatron is based on Metatron's Cube, which in holy scripture is a glyph one can use to ward off demons and satanic powers. Dahlia, Alessa, Leonard, and Vincent all think that the Seal of Metatron actively counteracts demon-forces, as does the real-life Metatron's Cube, but unfortunately for all, the Seal of Metatron doesn't work at all, as we see through the series (and definitively in Silent Hill 3).


Alessa's power is such that her thoughts can become reality. After being impregnated with the seed of the demon god, the demon tortured her with a neverending nightmare. Because of her power, the nightmare was projected onto the town involuntarily, and subsequently twisted the spiritual power in the area.
That is what Silent Hill is about and that is why the characters in 2 and 4 have the experiences that they have... that's why James and Henry and company experience their experiences... that's why Silent Hill 2 and 4 have characters that are able to experience those things... that's why Silent Hill 2 and 4 are experienced by the characters in the way that they are experienced by them...

OVER-THEORIZING

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