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Silent Hill 3

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Silent Hill 3
Sh3 boxart.jpg
European cover art
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)Konami
Director(s)Kazuhide Nakazawa
Producer(s)Akira Yamaoka
Programmer(s)Yukinori Ojima
Artist(s)Masahiro Ito
Writer(s)Hiroyuki Owaku
Composer(s)Akira Yamaoka
SeriesSilent Hill
Platform(s)
ReleasePlayStation 2
  • EU: May 23, 2003
  • JP: July 3, 2003
  • NA: August 5, 2003
Windows
  • EU: November 7, 2003
  • NA: April 6, 2004
Genre(s)Survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player

Silent Hill 3[a] is a survival horror video game developed by Team Silent, a production group within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo, and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2. The third installment in the Silent Hill series and a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game, it follows Heather, a teenager who becomes entangled in the machinations of the town's cult, which seeks to revive a malevolent deity. It was released in May 2003, with a port to Microsoft Windows released in October of the same year. A remastered high-definition version was released as part of the Silent Hill HD Collection (2012), for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Originally planned to be a rail shooter, as a result of the initially slow sales of Silent Hill 2 in Japan, Silent Hill 3 was developed almost simultaneously alongside another installment in the series, Silent Hill 4: The Room (2004). Among the influences on Silent Hill 3 are the film Jacob's Ladder and the works of horror novelist Stephen King. Silent Hill 3 sold more than 300,000 copies by November 2003 and was critically successful, garnering praise for its presentation, including the environments, graphics and audio, as well as the overall horror elements and themes that are continued from past installments; there also were minor criticism of the game's short length and gameplay mechanics. Its plot was loosely adapted into the 2012 film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.

Gameplay[edit]

Heather in the beginning stage of the game, next to a monster.

Silent Hill 3 is a survival-horror video game in which the player takes control of Heather, a teenager who awakens from a nightmare in a shopping mall and tries to return home to her father, while navigating environments that oscillate between reality and the Otherworld, a bloodier, supernatural version of it.[1] Gameplay in Silent Hill 3 resembles closely that of its two predecessors,[2] with gameplay set in the third-person view and divided among elements of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving.[3] The difficulty of both the combat and puzzle elements of the game can be set separately.[4] In the case of the puzzle difficulties, there is a considerable difference between the "medium" difficulty level and the "hard" difficulty level; one of the puzzles on the "medium" level requires only simple pattern recognition, while the "hard" difficulty level version of the same puzzle requires knowledge of Shakespearean plays to complete.[2]

To aid in exploration, Heather obtains a flashlight and radio early on, the latter of which crackles when monsters are in proximity.[5] She can find "health" restoratives, such as first aid kits and energy drinks; beef jerky, used to lure monsters away from her path; and a range of firearms and melee weapons to fend off the monsters with.[3] She can also block and perform side-step maneuvers to avoid enemies.[2] Heather will also update any relevant maps of the area with notes on locked doors, inaccessible areas, and potential clues to puzzles.[6] While the floor plans of the various environments largely remains consistent between reality and the Otherworld, certain areas may be rendered inaccessible in the Otherworld, with barriers or bottomless gulfs appearing in the street, for example.[2] The game also features unlockable weapons and costumes.[6]

Plot[edit]

Silent Hill 3 takes place in the fictional universe of the Silent Hill series. It opens with Heather's (Heather Morris) nightmare of being trapped in a derelict amusement park and killed by the roller coaster. She awakens in a burger restaurant, but before she can leave the shopping mall and return home to her father, private detective Douglas Cartland (Richard Grosse) confronts her, claiming to have information about her birth. Heather evades him and discovers that the mall is mostly abandoned except for monsters. She then encounters Claudia (Donna Burke), a mysterious woman who hints that Heather will be instrumental in bringing about paradise on earth.[7] Heather soon finds herself in the Otherworld version of the mall — monster-filled, bloodstained, and decaying — and eventually returns to the original shopping mall, where she finds Douglas again. He confesses that Claudia had hired him to find her, though denies prior knowledge of the Otherworld or of any greater agenda of Claudia's. Heather leaves the mall and resolves to take the subway home.[8] When she returns home to her apartment, she discovers that her father was murdered on Claudia's orders. Claudia informs her that Harry's murder was out of revenge and to engender hatred in Heather. Before leaving, Claudia informs her that she will be waiting for her in Silent Hill.[9]

Intent on killing Claudia, Heather resolves to go to Silent Hill and accepts Douglas's offer to drive her there.[9] On the journey there, Heather learns from a journal left by her father, Harry Mason, that she was the baby left to him at the end of the first Silent Hill game. Because she is the reincarnation of Alessa, the girl originally intended to birth the cult's god, Claudia intends for her to bring forth the god.[10] Arriving in the abandoned and fog-shrouded town, Heather sets out to find Leonard in a local hospital. Revealed to be Claudia's abusive father, he intends to dispose of Claudia as cult leader and attacks Heather after learning that she is not a member of the cult. Heather defeats him.[11] She journeys to the local church via a local amusement park, purportedly at Douglas' request.[12] When Heather arrives at the amusement park, she finds him wounded, having tried to stop Claudia. He considers killing Heather to stop the god from being born but decides against it.[13] Heather reaches the church and learns that Claudia, who was Alessa's childhood friend, intends to bring about the god's birth to remake the world into a paradise. Heather confronts her and vomits out the fetal deity, nourished by her hatred, with the aid of a supernatural substance given to her by Harry before his death. Claudia promptly swallows the fetus to Heather's horror and dies after birthing it. Heather then defeats the newly born god.[14]

Three endings appear in the game. The "Normal" ending, which is the only ending available on the first play-through of the game, sees Heather and Douglas survive, while in the "Possessed" ending, Heather kills Douglas.[15][16] In the "Revenge" ending, which is a joke ending accessible by performing certain in-game actions, Heather reunites with Harry, and Harry orders UFOs to blow up Silent Hill.[17]

Development[edit]

Silent Hill 3 promotion at E3 2003

Silent Hill 3 was created by Team Silent, a production group within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo.[18][19][20] Development on the PlayStation 2 version began after the release of Silent Hill 2 in September 2001, and was carried out almost simultaneously with development of another Silent Hill title that was intended to explore a different direction for the franchise and not be part of the main, numbered series;[21] known as Room 302, this game would eventually become integrated into the main series as Silent Hill 4: The Room.[22] The development team for this iteration was smaller than that working on Silent Hill 2, with around 40 people working on the game, made up of the core team from the second title and some newcomers.[23] A smaller group of Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo staff later developed a port for Microsoft Windows.[24]

Early sketch of antagonist Claudia Wolf (left) and her final appearance (right)

Silent Hill 3 was originally planned to be a rail shooter, not a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game, as a result of the initially slow sales and fan criticism of Silent Hill 2 in Japan. According to Masahiro Ito, this decision wasted considerable development time and part of the game's budget. Eventually, the plan was discarded, although the concept of a Silent Hill rail shooter was later explored with Silent Hill: The Arcade in 2007.[25]

Like all Silent Hill games, one of Silent Hill 3's influences is the film Jacob's Ladder:[23] one of the subway platforms is named Bergen Street Station, the station Jacob was inquiring about at the beginning of the film.[3] The developers also cited horror writer Stephen King as another of their influences.[23] Silent Hill 3 incorporates references drawn from real life actors and actresses. Douglas Cartland's name came from American actor Douglas Fairbanks.[26] The developers stated that his name "just seemed to suit him" and that there was no true connection to his namesake. During the sketching process, his character was modeled after actors Giancarlo Giannini and Ian Holm.[26] It was noted even during the concept designs that Cartland was designed as a middle-aged detective. Claudia Wolf's character was considered the most difficult to design.[26] Early sketches revealed that the creators wanted to dress her like a holy woman, and at one point she had a shaved head, with her body covered with tattoos, however, the creators thought that this way of showing her malevolent side was too obvious.[26] Eventually, the creators decided to model her on Julianne Moore, and then remove her eyebrows, so that the appearance was slightly skewed.[26] She was first named "Christie", but it was deemed too "cute" and the character was eventually named after Italian actress Claudia Cardinale.[26] Vincent's name originated from actor Vincent Gallo in connection with his unshaven look.[26] Early designs were based on actor Ethan Hawke and focused on capturing a look of "derangement and moodiness."[26]

A remastered high-definition version was released as part of the Silent Hill HD Collection, for the PlayStation 3[27] and the Xbox 360[28] on March 20, 2012.[29]

Music[edit]

The soundtrack for Silent Hill 3, composed by Akira Yamaoka, was released in Europe on March 25, 2003[30] and in Japan on July 16, 2003.[31] The song "You're Not Here" was included in the PS2 port of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme,[32] and is also included in the Silent Hill Experience UMD media pack.[33] The game's soundtrack is the first using vocals prominently. Most of the vocalized tracks are performed by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (credited as Melissa Williamson); one song features vocals by Joe Romersa.[34]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic85/100 (PS2)[35]
72/100 (PC)[36]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Game Informer8.75/10 (PS2)[37]
GameSpot8.4/10 (PS2)[3]
7.6/10 (PC)[39]
GameSpy8.7/10 (PS2)[6]
6.8/10 (PC)[40]
GameZone8.5/10 (PS2)[38]
8.0/10 (PC)[4]
IGN8.8/10 (PS2)[1]
9.0/10 (PC)[5]

Silent Hill 3 received positive reviews, garnering an 85/100 rating at Metacritic for the PlayStation 2 version,[35] and a 72/100 rating for the PC version.[36] The PC version fared less well, with some reviewers drawing unfavourable comparisons to other combat-based games found on the PC platform,[39] while others highlighted some technical issues, such as poor gamepad controller support.[40]

Positive reactions were given to the general horror and atmosphere of the game,[2][4] including "truly horrifying sections",[41] it "packs some genuine scares"[40] and "the feeling of eeriness and doom is almost overwhelming".[6] The story told as part of the atmosphere was also received positively,[41] making for a "satisfying, coherent sequel",[42] although its status as such meant that "it may be a little tough to follow for people who haven't played the first game", despite "a laudable effort to help people catch up".[40] In addition, the graphics, audio and production values were all credited with adding positively to the atmosphere.

Negative criticism largely stemmed from the lack of any innovations in gameplay; the game "doesn't do anything major that the series hasn't done before",[38] "does little in term of innovation"[41] and "doesn't offer much beyond the other titles in the series".[6] Also criticised was the game's camera and control system which, despite having been improved from previous games,[2][38] was described as "awkward, disorienting, and motion sickness-inducing".[39] Some criticism stemmed from the length of the game,[38] as it "can be easily beaten in a handful of hours".[6]

Silent Hill 3 sold over 300,000 copies by November 2003.[43] The game also topped sales charts in Japan upon its release.[44]

Film adaptation[edit]

A film adaptation of Silent Hill 3, titled Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, was released on October 26, 2012, by Open Road Films.[45] The film is a sequel to the film adaptation of the first installment in the Silent Hill series.[46] Directed by M. J. Bassett,[47] it starred Adelaide Clemens as Heather, Kit Harington as Vincent Cooper, Sean Bean as Harry Mason, Carrie-Ann Moss as Claudia Wolf, and Malcolm McDowell as Leonard Wolf.[48] The film received a 5% approval rating from review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with a general consensus: "Mediocre effort even by the standards of video game adaptations, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D features weak characters and an incomprehensible plot with a shortage of scares".[48]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Silent Hill 3 (サイレントヒル 3, Sairento Hiru Surī)

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b c d Winegarner, Tyler (2003-08-06). "Silent Hill 3 for PlayStation 2 Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  4. ^ a b c Wiz, Tha (2003-12-18). "Silent Hill 3 Review – PC". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
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  8. ^ Konami (Team Silent) (2003-05-23). Silent Hill 3 (PlayStation 2). Konami. Level/area: Return from Otherworld Shopping Mall.
  9. ^ a b Konami (Team Silent) (2003-05-23). Silent Hill 3 (PlayStation 2). Konami. Level/area: Harry's Apartment.
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External links[edit]