Vocal Hill

  • Reading time:3 mins read

This is all interesting, particular in the breakdowns of the plot and the character and monster origins for the first two games. Something that strikes me, however, is the marked difference in approach to the third game. Whereas in Silent Hill 1 and 2, the monsters were all consciously designed as manifestations of this or that, and the names for all of the characters and places were carefully (if perhaps overly-so) selected based upon relevent literary references and themes — like Harry and Cheryl’s names originally coming from Kubrick/Nabokov’s Lolita (before some alteration), and James and his wife’s names coming from elements of the Jack the Ripper case — very little of this consideration seems to have gone into Silent Hill 3. Monsters don’t seem to be particularly explained, either in their presence or in their design. They are there because the game needs creepy monsters. Names are increasingly arbitrary. Heather was named after her voice actress. Douglas was named after Douglas Fairbanks, for no particular reason. All of the attention in the creation of the third game seems to have gone into dissection of the plot to the first game, and into attempts to tie up everything prior to some comprehensible framework.

Although impressive in a certain right, I am unsure how truly constructive this approach is — as it kind of overlooks exactly the strengths of the first two games: namely, their ambiguity, and their strong inner motivation to illustrate one or another principle, or theme. Their subjectivity, really. In Silent Hill 3, the role taken by strong central themes in the first two games is usurped, in a manner, by convoluted and overt plotting as a new motivation. An attempt at aimless reason where highly-focued irrationality had previously been the whole reason for being.

This method just strikes me as rather clumsy, in comparison.

I guess that might be part of why Silent Hill 3 reminds me so much more of Biohazard than do the previous games.

EDIT: Notice also how many locations in Silent Hill 3 (once the player actually reaches Silent Hill) are lifted straight from the second game. Same geometry. Same fences still crumpled in the exact same way. Didn’t bother to change a thing, for the purposes of the game at hand. This seems to work into the above, somehow. One monster model is even taken straight from Silent Hill 2, although that should not be, given the explanation for the monsters in the first two games. The director of the third game didn’t seem to much care for these subtleties, though.