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Title: Silent Hill 3
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Date Published: 08/06/03
Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC
ESRB Rating: Mature: Blood and Gore, disturbing images

"They’ve come to witness the Beginning. The rebirth of Paradise, despoiled by mankind." --Claudia Wolf

Silent Hill 3 is the latest Silent Hill installment, derived directly from the original. You control Heather Mason, the daughter of the original protagonist, Harry Mason. Heather, like the ones before her, finds herself submerged in hell and back, with what seems to be no escape.

There are three "worlds" in Silent Hill 3: Reality, Misty, and the Otherworld. Reality is the world where people live and do their business. For the first five to ten minutes of the game (after the initial amusement park scene), this is where Heather is. She does not return. The second world, Misty, is devoid of almost all people, and it looks like the cleaning crew got fired. The buildings are in decay, and everything seems a little (or a lot) off here. There are a few monsters here. The Otherworld is similar to Misty in the effect that it has monsters. In the Otherworld, there's blood splattered everywhere, and only the crude remains of human life remain. Also, sometimes the walls are alive. (Yes, blackspike, hospital made of meat.)

Heather was at Central Square (a shopping mall), about to go home, where she encounters a detective. She doesn't want to talk to him, and instead she heads to the women's bathroom looking for an escape. But the moment she's in the bathroom, and she touches the cultish symbol inscribed in lipstick on the mirror, her world will never be the same.

Silent Hill 3 can be set up in the New Game screen to accomodate any sort of gamer, whether that gamer likes action, or puzzle, or both, or none. There are two selectable difficulty levels, for both Action and Riddle. They come in the Easy (minimal monsters and almost no puzzles), Medium (monsters here and there, they fight too. Puzzles are a brainstrain), and Hard (monsters everywhere and tough to beat, too. Puzzles are an absolute nightmare, more on this later).

The controls of Silent Hill are kind of confusing to many, at least initially. I wished for a remapping function, but none came. Most games usually have the menu on Triangle, and Silent Hill 3 had it on select. Thus, everytime I wanted to see the menu, I got the map. This was a great source of frustration, for the first couple of hours. But that's nitpicking.

The game has a wonderful(?) variety of levels, seamlessly connected. In order (without spoilers), they are the Shopping Mall, the Subway, the Sewer, the Construction Site, the Hilltop Building, the Brookhaven Hospital, the Lakeside Amusement Park, and the Church. Some levels are only minutes long, while others can be eight hours or more, provided the difficulties are set to Hard.

This is because the puzzles can be tremendously hard. For example, the first puzzle in the game requires a working knowledge of Shakespeare. Other puzzles include a tarot puzzle, corpse manipulation, and keypad unlocking. The keypad unlocking is a notable one, and I think I'll provide it as an example. You are faced with a keypad of 9 digits. Unlock it. WARNING! Graphic depictions of violence are involved here! If you are weak of will/mind/heart/stomach, do not solve!

 
1   2   3

4   5   6

7   8   9

"Pure eyes, blue like a glassy bead---
 You are always looking at me
 and I am always looking at you.

 Ah, you're too meek ---
 beautiful, unspoiled:
 thus I'm so sad, I suffer---
 and so happy, it hurts.

 I want to hurt you
 and destroy myself
 What you would think
 if you knew how I felt.

 Would you simply smile,
 not saying a word?
 Even curses from your mouth
 would be as beautiful as pearls.

 I place my left hand on your
 face as though we were to kiss.
 Then I suddenly shove my thumb
 deep into your eyesocket.
 Abruptly, decisively,
 like drilling a hole.

 And what would it feel like?
 Like jelly?
 Trembling with ecstasy, I obscenely
 mix it around and around: I must
 taste the warmth of your blood.

 How would you scream?
 Would you shriek "It hurts!
 It hurts!" as cinnabar-red tears
 stream from your crushed eye?

 You can't know the maddening
 hunger I've felt in the midst of
 our kisses, so many of them
 I've lost count.

 As though drinking in your cries,
 I bring my hopes to fruition:
 biting your tongue, shredding it,
 biting at your lips as if tasting
 your lipstick.

 Oh, what euphoric heights I would
 reach, having my desires fulfilled
 like a greedy, gluttonous cur.

 I longed, too, for your cherry-tinted
 cheeks, tasty enough to bewitch my
 tongue.
 I would surely be healed,
 and would cry like a child.

 And how is your tender ear?
 It brushes against my cheek;
 I want it to creep up to my lips so
 I can sink my teeth into its flesh.

 Your left ear, always hearing words
 whispered sweet as pie ---
 I want it to hear my true feelings.
 I never lied, no...
 but I did have my secrets.

 Ah, but what must you think of me?
 Do you hate me? Are you afraid?
 As though inviting you to the agony
 at the play's end; if you wish, you
 could destroy me --- I wouldn't care.

 As you wish, you may destroy me
 --- I wouldn't care."

The answer can be found in plenty of places out there, and I don't think I need to provide it.

The scariness factor of Silent Hill 3 is such that while it is innately disturbing, it doesn't get so scary that I am prevented from playing it (as was a notable problem with Fatal Frame). But it still plays around with me...


Sources:
gamefaqs.com
Borrowing it from blackspike

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