The town of Silent Hill brings that kind of emotional adventure. Silent Hill 3 starts with a dream -- a fog-filled, abandoned amusement park where you're simply wandering around aimlessly. It's not long before you run into a Closer: a large, red-tinted creature with massive, crushing arms, trying to trap you. The choice is yours. You can fight back or book it, but either way this dream ends in death. It's just a dream, though, right ... ?
Our victim, Heather, is a normal teenager. This is where Silent Hill 3 makes its mark. It takes normal, everyday environments and turns them on you. Suddenly, you're abandoned in this broken-down mall, enemies creeping in from every corner. In the midst of this, we control a mundane individual in Heather, almost like this game is testing if we'd have the skills to survive this situation ourselves. The transformation of other everyday locations -- such as a subway, apartment building, and sewers -- into haunting visions is powerful and frightening. However, it's not until the game actually takes us to Silent Hill that the locations bring the ultimate terror in Brookhaven Hospital and Lakeside Amusement Park.
Brookhaven will give you goosebumps; previously the site of an abusive mental institution, the ghastly cries of its tortured souls will cement your distress. One of its patients sends poetry confessing his obsessive feelings for you along with creepy dolls as a token of his love.
Lakeside Amusement Park takes a setting tied with feelings of joy and childhood and warps it into something frightening. Any comfort found is immediately lost once its sights surround you, including the devilish grin on the park's pink bunny mascot. Where the amusement park shines best is in Borley's Haunted Mansion, with a tour guide's psychotic voice guiding you to your doom. Naturally, a lot of the places I've mentioned have been influenced by the Otherworld, where the darkest delusions in your mind come to life.
Part of where the world of Silent Hill toys with you is its ambiance. Enemies are often heard, not seen. It's unclear if each step taken will increase suspense or inch you closer to demise. You're always on edge, and there's no shortage of events that literally make you jump due to their abruptness.
With the combination of eerie sounds, harrowing visuals and emotional suspense, every event has the intensity to horrify you, giving your body a staggering jolt. There's immediate immersion from the get-go: the visuals are just too deranged to look away from. The deeper you go, the more intense it becomes, and the world follows suit as it progressively steps up its madness.
So, why am I urging you to visit a place that will torment you? For the same reason we've played with Ouija boards and whispered "Bloody Mary" into a mirror: the rush. A supernatural mystery acting as a test of courage. As much as we know not to place our foot over the edge, doing so is undeniably fun. In the world of Silent Hill 3, each step into the world also ignites your insides with fear.