Thursday, January 21, 2010

Silent Hill 4: The Room

The story proves to be the most significant -- yet strangely insignificant -- aspect of this new arrival. Henry Townsend is a pretty average, straight white guy who one days wakes to his apartment room, which is industrially secured by multiple chains and locks from the inside. He cannot get out through the windows, and so he's stuck, left in wonder and confusion. Several days later, a small hole appears in his bathroom. It turns out to be a portal to another dimension, and it's Henry's only way out.

The room, you soon learn, is a safe-house for regaining health and for saving your progress. It's also the biggest new aspect in the architecture of the game. See, Henry is caught up in what basically results in a Silent Hill twilight zone, a plane he must examine and explore in order to escape. The room is where it all begins. As Henry, you'll explore Ashfield, a town a few miles away from Silent Hill, as well as subway, forest, water tower levels, and the apartment itself.

However, you'll always return to the room. It decays as you progress, and since the portals from the other world always lead to the room itself, you find that part of its intrigue is seeing how it transforms, what new things happen in it, and what other new clues there are to find. For instance, you can peek out the front door peep hole and you can yell all you want, but the neighbors, landlord, and your friendly next-door neighbor Eileen cannot see or hear you. You're trapped. You can peek into Eileen's room, too. You will watch everyday details of her life, such as the shaving of armpits, sweeping, getting ready to attend a party, and watching TV.

The room is a growing, organic creature of its own sort that requires your attention to complete the game. It creates a decent amount of claustrophobia, but not the kind that I'd hoped for. And yet, it's almost always fun to see what's going to happen next.


Minimum System Requirements

System: 1.0 GHz Pentium III or Athlon processor or equivalent
RAM: 256 MB
Video Memory: 32 MB
Hard Drive Space: 4000 MB
Other: GeForce3 Ti/Radeon 8500 Video Chipset w/32 MB VRAM, DirectX 8.1-compliant sound card, 2x DVD-ROM drive

Recommended System Requirements

System: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or Athlon processor or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB
Video Memory: 64 MB
Hard Drive Space: 5000 MB
Other: GeForce 4 Ti/Radeon 8500 Video Chipset w/64 MB VRAM, 4x DVD-ROM drive, USB gamepad controller
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