[quote=“Geoffrey Duke”]Spoiler warning.
Silent Hill 4 was a refreshing detour from the generic winning formula we’ve come to love… until about halfway through the game when plot development grinds to a screeching halt and when the game starts recycling every single previous location. I enjoyed watching people try to break into Henry’s apartment, and failing to hear Henry’s cries for help as he’s trapped inside. I was disappointed when that all came to an abrupt end. If I were the super, I would have found a chainsaw and sawed down Henry’s door.
I’ve had this debate with Silent Hill fans and I still maintain that Henry Townsend is – to put it kindly – a zombified male model. He rarely shows any emotion and hardly seems at all curious about being trapped in someone’s personal vision of hell. In fact, the best part of the game was the first subway level when Henry frantically tries to save Cynthia, only to find her lying in a pool of her own blood. Hearing her screams over the speaker phone added a nice atmospheric touch to the proceedings too, to give players all the motivation they needed to come to the rescue. You’d think that little ordeal would have inspired our hero to hunt down Walter Sullivan; on the contrary, Henry goes numb inside. Perhaps he numbed himself to the pain of life (along with the joys of it) a long time ago? His failure to express himself and show anything even remotely resembling any real human emotion on a regular basis failed to endear me to his point of view.
Heather was far more personable by comparison; so much so, that we share her fear every step of the way. Heather is Silent Hill’s Tyler Durden in that she has a darker side always making her presence felt. Learning that Allessa was the one who was creating all the monsters by warping reality, and that in a way, Heather was trying to kill herself to prevent the birth of the cult’s god she carried, was a nice twist in the story I’ve come to expect from this series.
Where was the twist in Silent Hill 4? Where we the bleeding walls and covered up corpses? When I first read about how Henry was just a normal everyday guy who suddenly found himself trapped in his own apartment with a note on the door saying “Don’t go out”, I immediately thought that maybe, just maybe, he was being protected from the outside world, or the world was being protected from him, because I don’t know, he was actually a repressed deranged psychopath with an insatiable appetite for death.
The overall storyline simply failed to reach its full potential. We should have seen a greater emotional response from Henry in the very least. If that was me, I might have been tempted to crack under the pressure…[/quote]
I can agree with you there, but I’ve also found that most horror games seem to lack that realistic fear the main character might feel about their horrific surroundings. In Silent Hill 3, it’s true that Heather had much more depth in both her background and her personality, but I don’t remember her considering killing herself in there. Are you referring to the point in the game where she fought the bloody version of herself (AKA Alessa) in the amusement park? Or maybe when she swallowed the pendant to… uh… throw up “God”?
Moving on, though… I think the part that gave the biggest impression on Heather’s realistic reactions to Silent Hill’s Hellish environment was in the very beginning, right after she first met Douglas and wandered into that abandoned shop. I thought how she frantically picked up the handgun and shot at the… creature thing… was pretty realistic. I know I wouldn’t have perfect control over myself if I saw something like that.
When you asked for the twist in SH4, were you referring to the predictability of the game’s plot? I thought the plot was okay; I just couldn’t seem to find its main direction that… thinks of a right word … intriguing, I guess. Just the thought of a little demented kid running around killing people as sacrifices to an apartment room he considered his mother was strange to me. I guess I could’ve appreciated it more if they elaborated on the religious views of the cult Walter belonged to, or something.
Also, in regards to the super, I think he was strange anyway. He had an umbilical chord in his room that he confessed started smelling horrible. I wouldn’t expect him to find it logical to saw down a door after about two weeks of the person not coming out.
And, don’t forget about Joseph and how he locked himself in that apartment room before Henry even moved in. Maybe they just figured Henry was doing that. Besides that, throughout the series, there’s never been any real explaination as to why or even WHERE Silent Hill actually is. Throughout all the games, the locations, design, and even cities (assuming the city Henry’s apartment was located in altered when the apartment did) changes a lot. Though, I’m a personal believer in the theory of Silent Hill being every person’s personal Hell, and that’s why there’s no solid explaination for any of it. So, in taking that belief into account, it would probably be plausible to say what was happening to Henry was his own way of slipping into his personal Hell–Silent Hill. I can’t really say how that could affect people like Eileen (whose purpose in the story was kind of obscure to me). It’s still an imperfect theory, but it provides a little basis for the game’s focus, I think.
Okay, now I feel like I’m just babbling. Sorry about that. I tend to type longwinded responses to these sorts of things.