Silent Hill: The Arcade Hands-On Impressions

silent_hill_arcade_impressi.jpgKonami's psychological horror adventure series Silent Hill may seem like an odd choice for an arcade port. Combat and gunplay in the Silent Hill games generally runs from suck to medium suck. Silent Hill: The Arcade is little more than blowing the heads off of dozens of knife-wielding nurses, bugs, slugs and bandaged demon dogs... and that's okay. The arcade-only journey to Silent Hill smacks very much of The House of the Dead 2 with it's rapid fire and reload action, rivaling that game for worst voice acting ever.

The story set up that no one cares about is that our male lead Eric has been having nightmares about a girl falling off of a steam boat, drowning in the rivers of Silent Hill. He wakes up in the hotel that's made a number of appearances in the series, only to be thoroughly confused by the newly creeping fog. Some of his shitty friends gone missing and the only way to remedy the situation is to shoot stuff. The obligatory little girl who looks just like some dead kid is also present, constantly running away from our heroes.

The shooting? Top notch. Pull the trigger and things die. Headshots make for a satisfying "POOM!" sound and cause things to fall down faster.

The voice acting, though. Oh God. It's thirty shades of awful. Lines like "Ew. It's smells moldy!" followed by "Better than the smell of blood!" will either leave you in stitches or slightly pissy. Every single interaction and line of dialog is just abysmal, almost impossible to have been read worse.

One more negative is the transporting of the console games' worst elements—constant door handle checking. You're presented with the option of going left, right or straight now and then, something that will inevitably lead to a key finding detour when some random door won't open. Not fun, since the game moves at a sluggish pace.

Despite the negatives, Silent Hill: The Arcade is a great light gun shooter. Many of the areas are lifted from various games, including Brookhaven Hospital and the Silent Hill Mall, so you'll feel right at home. You'll face mid-level bosses and end-of-level bosses that don't really put up a fight, and the game isn't much of a challenge, so if you get your hands on it, you'll most likely get your money's worth.

It's not much to look at, nor does it do anything outstanding in terms of bringing real scares to the genre, but it's fun. The game has been out for some time now, but playing it in an Akihabara arcade this week was my first experience. If you have an arcade that may carry the game, keep your eyes peeled. It's worth the trip (if just for all the cheesy dialog).


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