Silent Hill 2  
Are you ready for your worst nightmare?

HarryThe definition of Survival Horror was applied for the first time referring to Resident Evil. Since then, this label was used for those games with typical Horror elements (like monstrous creatures, gloomy places, violent deaths) and a great importance given to action; first of all, in a Survival Horror game you have to survive. For its respect of the definition, Resident Evil series represents the state of art of the genre, together with another series from Capcom, Dino Crisis.

Yet for their predominating action component, Survival Horror games never put the player in a condition of feeling fear or anguish. It's like if in these games the atmosphere remains always into the screen; at most you can start at the sudden appearance of a zombie or of a raptor. For this reason I prefer to Capcom titles, that are anyhow must-buy games,  and to the genre in general, the first episode of Silent Hill for PSX from Konami. Silent Hill developers didn't give to action and fights against filthy zombies the importance these elements have in Survival Horror games. Silent Hill was a game made of silences and painful waiting. You could feel the anguish and the despair of Harry Mason while he walked through the foggy streets and the obscure alleys of Silent Hill; you could  smell his fear as he entered a dark house and his dismay in front of the lonely spirit of a young boy. Silent Hill led the identification in the main character to an incredible level.

If you haven't played   this game yet, try it.  Buy it even if you already have a PS2. And turn off the lights, while you are playing. You won't be disappointed. But remember: even after the game is over you'll not be able to shake your anguish off very soon. This is probably the only fault of this Konami's masterpiece.

Silent Hill 2

After this long intro I finally get to the subject of this preview. Konami has officially announced that Silent Hill 2 will be released in the US in fall of 2001. No words about the release date for Europe. In this page you'll find the trailer for the game and a lot of screenshots. But let's proceed with order.....
James is the leading character of the new episode; at the beginning of the story, he receives a strange letter from his wife, Mary. But the fact is that she's been dead for three years.

"In my restless dreams I see that town, Silent Hill. You promised you'd take me there again someday, but you never do. Well, I'm alone there now in a special place, waiting for you" she wrote.

And James, as any of us would probably do, decides to leave for the little Middlewest town. There, he will be swallowed up by the shadows of a terrible nightmare. And you'll be with him, or better still you'll be him. James seems to be not connected to Harry Mason, the lead character of the previous episode.  But to tell the truth the two characters looks identical and they both have lost their wives.  Are these just coincidences?

Shadows reign in the great trailer of Silent Hill 2. Everything is shrouded in mist; James is alone in the darkness of rooms devoured by mildew and rust. The creatures that James meets during his wanderings are very different from those comic Resident Evil zombies. They looks sad and painfully  disfigured; they have been created by Konami's artists to shock and disturb the player. Looking at them you can feel there is something human beyond their terrifying aspect. It's not easy to kill creatures that seem to suffer like you do.

Konami assured that the graphics during the gameplay in Silent Hill 2 will be better than the not playable CG parts of the first episode. And considering certain screenshots of the game we can say that Konami's people are not lying.

The city, like in Silent Hill 1, is shrouded in mist and the dim lights are beyond our world; the fog element was used in the first episode to hide the limits of  the hardware: with this smart trick Konami's developer first of all prevented the player to notice pop-up effects that would come out from a 3d environment realized for the PsOne. In other words, what can't be cured must be endured. But this time things are different . With the power of the new console a 3d fogging effect is used to wrap everything in a ghostly mantle: buildings and walls, characters and objects, are now completely visible but they look completely unnatural.According to Konami's words, the  area of the town that can be explored is bigger than the one in the previous episode .

Are you ready to meet the horrors of Silent Hill 2?

- Harry (October 23rd, 2001)