Have You Played... Silent Hill 4: The Room?
The scariest of them all.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Much of the praise for horror series Silent Hill is directed at its second entry Silent Hill 2. I’m not sure it was entirely understood when first released in late 2001, however it’s since become a marker against which psychological horror games are judged. Silent Hill 4: The Room [Wikipedia page], on the other hand, isn’t discussed nearly as much but it’s arguably the scariest game in the series.
After becoming locked inside his inner-city apartment with little explanation (see all of those chains in the header image there?), protagonist James Townsend travels to and from various monster-filled locations via an equally strange hole-cum-vortex that mysteriously appears in his bathroom. He steadily uncovers more about the twisted world of Silent Hill and the people and horrors within, and while his home acts as a refuge in the first half of the game - it regenerates Townsend’s health and is the only save point throughout - it becomes haunted in the second, posing as big a threat as the terrors that stalk the other side.
Critically, it was rightly marked down for some irritating escorting and repetitive environments in its last third, however The Room is the first horror game I was genuinely terrified by. Its atmosphere, story, and setting (I still shudder at the thought of the Panopticon stage) were pitched so well which is why it’s an absolute shame that it’s so often overlooked. It also made me revisit these fantastic words from horror aficionado Adam.