Silent Hill 3
|Silent Hill 3|
|Developer(s)||Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo|
Silent Hill 3[a] is a survival horror video game published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 and developed by Team Silent, a production group within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. It is the third installment in the Silent Hill series and a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game. 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, for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 on March 20, 2012.
Set seventeen years after the events of Silent Hill in which Harry Mason defeats the god of the town cult and is given a baby girl to care for, Silent Hill 3 focuses on Heather Mason, a teenage girl raised by Harry in Portland. She discovers that the cult plans to use her to birth their god, and becomes caught in a conflict within the cult.
Silent Hill 3 was mostly well received by critics, especially in its presentation, including the environments, graphics and audio, as well as the overall horror elements and themes that are continued from past installments. Its plot was loosely adapted into the 2012 film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.
Gameplay in Silent Hill 3 resembles closely that of its two predecessors, the three main gameplay elements being combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving. Combat, as well as exploration, takes place in third-person view, with the player able to equip weapons found throughout the game. Heather may also block and perform side-step maneuvers to avoid enemies. As series staples, the flashlight and radio return, the latter of which crackles when monsters are within close proximity.
Players can set the difficulty of both the combat and puzzle elements of the game separately. In the case of the puzzle difficulties, there is a large 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 Shakespeare plays to complete. The game also features unlockable weapons and costumes.
Silent Hill 3 takes place in the fictional universe of the Silent Hill series. Seventeen years before the start of Silent Hill 3, Harry Mason defeated a god brought forth by a cult of Silent Hill and at the ending, was given a baby girl to care for. The protagonist and player character of Silent Hill 3 is Heather, Harry's now-teenage daughter. Silent Hill 3 opens with her nightmare of being trapped in a demented amusement park and run down by the roller coaster. She awakens in a burger restaurant; but before she can leave the mall, private detective Douglas Cartland 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, who hints that Heather will be instrumental in bringing about paradise on earth. 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 encounters Douglas. 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. When she returns to her apartment, she discovers that Claudia had her father murdered out of revenge and to engender hatred in Heather. Claudia informs her that she will be waiting for her in Silent Hill and leaves.
Intent on killing Claudia, Heather resolves to go to Silent Hill and accepts Douglas's offer to drive her there. On the journey there, Douglas explains that Vincent, a fellow cultist, told them to look for a man named Leonard, while Heather learns from a memo left by her father that she is the baby left to him. Because Heather is Alessa's reincarnation, Claudia intends for Heather to birth the cult's god. Arriving in the abandoned and fog-shrouded town, Heather eventually finds a transformed Leonard in a local hospital. Revealed to be Claudia's abusive father, he attacks Heather after learning that she is not a member of the cult. Heather defeats him and eventually meets Vincent, who directs her to a church via a local amusement park, purportedly at Douglas' request. 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. Heather reaches the church, and after Claudia kills Vincent, confronts her. Heather vomits out the fetal deity, using a substance Harry gave her before his death, and Claudia promptly swallows it; she dies after birthing the deity. Heather then fights and defeats the god.
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. 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. According to Silent Hill: Homecoming, the "Normal" ending is the canon one as one of Douglas' files can be found in the game.
Silent Hill 3 was created by Team Silent, a production group within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. 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; known as Room 302, this game would eventually become integrated into the main series as Silent Hill 4: The Room. 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. A smaller group of Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo staff later developed a port for Microsoft Windows.
Like all Silent Hill games, one of Silent Hill 3's influences is the film Jacob's Ladder: one of the subway platforms is named Bergen Street Station, the station Jacob was inquiring about at the beginning of the film. The developers also cited horror writer Stephen King as another of their influences. Silent Hill 3 incorporates references drawn from real life actors and actresses. Douglas Cartland's name came from American actor Douglas Fairbanks. 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. 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. 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. Eventually, the creators decided to model her on Julianne Moore, and then remove her eyebrows, so that the appearance was slightly skewed. She was first named "Christie", but it was deemed too "cute" and the character was eventually named after Italian actress Claudia Cardinale. Vincent's name originated from actor Vincent Gallo in connection with his unshaven look. Early designs were based on actor Ethan Hawke and focused on capturing a look of "derangement and moodiness."
The soundtrack for Silent Hill 3, composed by Akira Yamaoka, was released in Europe on March 25, 2003 and in Japan on July 16, 2003. The song "You're Not Here" was included in the PS2 port of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, and is also included in the Silent Hill Experience UMD media pack. 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.
Silent Hill 3 received positive reviews, garnering an 85/100 rating at Metacritic for the PlayStation 2 version, and a 72/100 rating for the PC version. The PC version fared less well, with some reviewers drawing unfavourable comparisons to other combat-based games found on the PC platform, while others highlighted some technical issues, such as poor gamepad controller support.
Positive reactions were given to the general horror and atmosphere of the game, including "truly horrifying sections," it "packs some genuine scares" and "the feeling of eeriness and doom is almost overwhelming." The story told as part of the atmosphere was also received positively, making for a "satisfying, coherent sequel," 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." 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", "does little in term of innovation" and "doesn't offer much beyond the other titles in the series." Also criticised was the game's camera and control system which, despite having been improved from previous games, was described as "awkward, disorienting, and motion sickness-inducing." Some criticism stemmed from the length of the game, as it "can be easily beaten in a handful of hours."
A film adaptation of Silent Hill 3, titled Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, was released on October 26, 2012, by Open Road Films. The film is a sequel to the film adaptation of the first installment in the Silent Hill series. Directed by Michael J. Bassett, 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. The film received a five percent 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."
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