“Silent Hill” is one of many “survival-horror” games, a trend that started with the release of “Resident Evil” by Capcom in the mid 90's. This type of game was intended to frighten you, more so than any horror movie would be able to. This in mind, none of the survival-horror games before “Silent Hill” had anything to do with the occult. Though many had zombies and horrifying monsters, they were typically the result of a biological accident. "Silent Hill", on the other hand, has EVERYTHING to do with the occult.
In this game you play a man named Harry Mason, a writer and widower, who is taking his little girl Cheryl on vacation. Of all the places he could have gone he felt “drawn” to go to Silent Hill. The game begins when Harry swerves to avoid a girl in the middle of the road and ends up crashing on the outskirts of the town. When he awakens, Cheryl is gone and all that he can think to do is go after her.
Konami did an excellent job with the graphics in "Silent Hill"; for a 32-bit system, the sheer size and detail of the scenery is unbelievable. Thick fog, snow, rain, and the most realistic lighting that I have ever seen are all used to heighten the fear factor. But that does not change the disturbing nature of the game.
The first signs that you will see that there is something wrong come when Harry is chasing Cheryl down a dark alley. The further he goes the darker it becomes. Blood stains start to show up on the walls. Blood drips from barbed-wire fences and strange noises begin to grow louder. The climax of this scene comes when Harry finds a masticated corpse hanging on the fence at the end of the alley. He is then killed by small knife-wielding demon babies, only to wake up in a diner as if it were all a bad dream. Some of the most blatant Satanic references that I've seen include crayon drawings of the crucifixion hanging on the walls of an elementary school, a crucified man inside a fishing boat, upside down crosses, and occult symbols on the TV screens of the shopping center. There is a horrifying number of occult symbols used to solve puzzles in the game. Plus “the mark of Samael,” an important plot point, is shown over 100 times throughout the course of "Silent Hill".
The demonic aspect of the game is that the town is actually a little girl's nightmare, and Harry is being shifted back and forth between fantasy and reality. But as the game progresses the nightmare merges with reality. An underlying plot point in this game centers on the cult surrounding the origins of the town, including a conspiracy involving the hospital patients being used for dark rituals.
Despite the utter darkness, lies and half-truths, “Silent Hill” shares some scriptural truth. For instance, it is taught that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. (An interesting Christian film on this topic is actually called Angel of Light. Recent related secular films include Bless the Child and End of Days).
Warning: Paragraph Contains Spoilers.
Overall this game is extremely well done, but dark to the core. Since before my salvation I had deep experience with the occult, and with the morbid things that this game portrayed, it did not effect me as it would have. I do not recommend this game for the physically or spiritually weak.
Year of Release—1999
This game could be surely dangerous, but less dangerous than the medium RPG or any other game that deals with magic in a 'natural' way, like
a simple tool. At the end of the game people who hoped the devil to ''wash their sorrows'' get burned by the demon, and they pay for their voluntary illusion. It is not possible to use evil power for good… The problem is that Japanese artist (usually) doesn't believe in the Holy Bible, so they use what they read as surge for their imagination. Nevertheless, as opposed to works like Berserk! or Evangelion the representation of the devil in Silent Hill is, after all, honest: he lures you making you believe that evil is good and/or that you can afford a temporary diversion from the Right Path, and after he wins he is ready to use your sin to destroy you. Satan is the prototype of an untrue friend. May God free use from him so that we can live freely! My Ratings: [2/3]
Positive—I, personally, loved this game. This may sound shocking but, my feelings towards Silent Hill are in no way affected by my religious preference, in fact, I do not feel that religion has anything to do with any game in particular. I see games as being for all ages, like movies and books, and this game clearly is setting out to appeal to the more mature, gaming demographic. I see this game as being just as much of a work of art as a great film or novel, games aren't just mario anymore. For instance, in this game there are feelings, emotions, themes, all conveyed with Hollywood-quality story telling techniques. Now as far as offensive elements, they can be found in abundance, if you're the type of person who cannot appreciate art, because they feel it conflicts with their religion, Silent Hill is not for you. But try to look at it this way, look at it as if it was a high quality horror movie, such as The Shining. Now if you took offense to The Shining, then you will not be too pleased with Silent Hill either. But to compare the two is quite easy, both are artfully done products that deal with occult themes, and both are critically acclaimed because of it. If you're the kind of person who is not willing to understand the great work of art at hand, then pass. But if you have an open mind, and enjoy artfully done psychological thrillers, this is a game worth checking out. 4/5; A great game but the easily offended be warned. My Ratings: [3/4]
Positive—Well, if you are a fan of the horror genre, enjoy getting scared to death, and like solving occasional puzzles, then this is your game. I don't recommend SH (Silent Hill) to squeemish people, or those who don't like scary things. Also, kids should stay away (for now). They probably wouldn't even understand a thing that is going on in the game anyways. If you are the latter, then keep reading… **CHRISTIAN VALUE** Absolutely none. The game does involve cults and that will bother some fellow Christians. Why does it not bother me? SH does not try to bring you to the “dark side” and make you think that cults are a good thing. I'm sure the makers of the game aren't devout devil worshippers hoping to way kids their way. If they were, it didn't work for me. Sure, it does nothing help me become a better Christian (a lot of other things don't either), but it doesn't sway me from my beliefs. After all, it is a survival/horror game, so of course there will be 'evil' things in the game. If they put SH in Heaven, it wouldn't be too scary. Bottom line: don't get the game hoping to get some good Christian values from it. **REVIEW** I have played SH and SH2, and overall I'd say SH2 is the better of the two, but SH is still a very, very good game. With the fog and snow falling outside, and running through very dark buildings with just a small flashlight, you'd probably be better off playing this game with other people around and with all the lights on. Also, one of the major pluses of the game is the sound effects. Just play it, and you'll see. SH is scarier than any movie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of movies. The plot is difficult to understand, and a lot of people probably will be confused the entire game. But, it has 4 different endings, plus and extra ending that is a funny ending. So, play it over and over, and it should help you understand. Overall, I'd give SH a 9 out of 10 rating. Silent Hill 2 deserves a 10 out of 10, because of improved graphics and sound. I can't wait till Silent Hill 3! My Ratings: [1/5]
Positive—I rented Silent Hill as soon as it hit the shelves, and I finished it in 3 days. It is, I have to say, one of THE best games I've ever played, and Silent Hill 2 only gets better. I am a Christian, and no I'm not just a “religious” person saying that. I'm a Spirit-filled Christian and I live every day for Jesus and hey, I loved this game. I refuse to watch horror movies, sexually oriented movies and things like that, but nobody seems to see that in these games (Silent Hill 1&2 etc…) you are FIGHTING AGAINST the evil, not glorifying it. I mean, look at it, in almost every game of this nature, you're character is put in a dark situation with almost no possible way out, yet you destroy the evil and make it out alive, I can't possibly see the problem with that. Now, I'm not trying to ARGUE about it, I'm just saying how I feel, ya know? Personally I have to say it's an incredible game. I went out and bought Twisted Metal Black and THREW IT AWAY after a couple days because I felt convicted about it… My Ratings: 
I love this game-- in fact, it is one of my favorite games of all time. The purpose, of course, is to scare you, since that's what type of game it is. But there is a deeper meaning to this game, in fact, there are several. It focuses on psychological decay and how a man overcomes it, and it focuses on overcoming darkness and corruption. Now yes, the game is full of the occult, but just because it has occult in it doesn't mean its saying “succumb to the devil.” The occult just states that yes the town has become evil due to the evil intentions of those that are in it and the evil intentions of those who made it that way. Your mission is at first to find your daughter, but there is later a subconscious mission of the main character to overcome the madness that he has found in the bowels of the mutated town and escape with his daughter. The storyline focuses a lot around the dipping in and out of reality-- the town, in fact, is a living nightmare of a girl with strange powers. The main character, Harry, finds this out when he is constantly going in and out of this nightmare world. The town's darkness obviously effects him through his “adventure,” but in the end, the light prevails over the darkness--if you get the good ending, that is (there are several endings that you can get depending on what you accomplish during the game.) The good ending is generally the way the game should end, in that Harry's daughter, Cheryl, is in fact the lost half of the soul of a girl names Alessa, who was used in Dark Rituals in the bowels of a corrupted hospital. However, the two souls join as one at the end of the game, and she becomes an all powerful being that her mother dubs as “the mother of God.” However, she is really a host for the demon “Samael,” who has infested the town through her nightmares and the evil intentions of those who used the girl. You end up fighting this demon, and when it is defeated, you see the good in the game. Alessa (the real Cheryl) is free of the demon, and she is now an angel, and in the freeing of evil, a new child is born, one that Alessa gives to Harry to start a new life with. Thus, Harry has overcome the darkness of the town by defeating the main demon and coming in contact with the angel that Alessa was meant to be. So, there is nothing “Satanic” about this game, and there is nothing the pressures the occult on anyone. I do recommend this game for all Christians, even though I am not one, because it focuses on destroying darkness from the bowels of darkness. It says that light can only be found in darkness, and once you reach that light, you will overcome darkness. It is a good teaching, I believe, for many Christians and even their children (although children should not be presented this game until they are teenagers due to the violence in the game). As a non Christian, I love the disturbing nature of the game because it gets me scared, and I love to be scared-- but just because I am not Christian doesn't mean that I don't see the goodness in the game and what it presents. And what it presents is very positive, and something that not only Christians should learn but that society should learn in general.
I bought this game before becoming a Christian. While I did enjoy it quite a bit when I was not serving the Lord, I'm at the point where I'm about to get rid of it. Every part of this game is inspired by different forms of the occult. While I didn't catch a lot of the references before, I've come to see what inspired a lot of the game play through a little research. I will say the game is very addictive once you start playing. I could hardly stop play for the first few weeks I owned it. Unfortunately, the game is unbelievably dark, and it never seems to let up. I remember being shaky for a little while after each time I played it. My brother refused to even be in the room while I played it due to how disturbing it was. Overall, I'd have to say that this is, without a doubt, a game which no Christian should have anything to do with. My Ratings: [1/4]
Silent Hill is a very good game. It is extremely hard and the gameplay is very smooth. You could think of it as a step up from the Resident Evil series. The game is pretty long, with multiple endings. The best part of the game is that its terrifying, no game ever has made me worry about what is around the corner. So naturally the game ain't made for younger sprites… this game is very unchristian-like cause it has a LITTLE to do with aliens (its one of the hardest to get places in the game… but it explains the story thoroughly). And the fact you go around killing monsters. But now listen, these are monsters, I'm sure the pope would smack a winged purple thing in the head if it tried to eat him. Anyway, this game is extremely violent and gory… My Ratings: 
This review does two things to me. It makes me happy that it disturbs other people than myself, but it makes me sad that you write it off like it's negative to your health. Silent Hill epitomizes everything that is frightening, that is horrific about the degeneration of the human psyche, what it becomes as the town is “devoured by the Darkness” as Mason puts it. Silent Hill is a portrait of a town, the psychology, the intricate structure that makes up it's framework and how it's being corrupted inside out. The idea that it would focus on simply scaring you to death seems a bit pretentious. It touched you, but you don't recognize what it meant. To you, it's simply the devil at work. To them, to me, to “us” it is a labyrinth of self discovery, of conquering, of riding out the bitter half of the cycle in light of devastating circumstances. Yes, at face value, there is not much good this game can do for the fun of christians. I'll agree with that, but you should try to understand that what you have played was no simple game with the goal of accomplishment in mind. If you think this is bad, you should play Silent Hill 2. There will be a point at which you ask yourself "Why am I playing this?", and from there, your true journey will begin. If I were a christian I would find this offensive at face value, but I do not find it offensive at all in light of the journey I undertake. There is nothing more positive than the realization that only in darkness can there be light. As for your study of the occult, it sounds like it's a bit shabby. There's more to life than just the “good”. Also, to clarify things a bit (because I didn't quite understand either) the hospital patients weren't being used in dark occult experiments. Only the one girl with the powers. She was there because she had been burned (somehow) and that's how the hospital ties into things. Really, this game is brilliant in every conceivable way. It's a shame that only the strong can witness it… My Ratings: [1/5]
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.
Review supplied by Christian Spotlight Guide2Games, a ministry of Christian Answers. Copyright © Films for Christ. Spotlight's URL: http://ChristianSpotlight.com • Mailing address: PO Box 1167, Marysville WA 98270-1167, USA • “Christian Spotlight’s Guide to Games” and “Guide2Games” are service marks of Films for Christ.