The Dead of Winter: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Part One

box-art
This box art is cool and creepy.

System: PS2

Developer: Climax Studios

Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainmet

Released: PS2/PSP versions – January 19th, 2010; Wii version – December 8th, 2009

In late 2009, I discovered a new Silent Hill game, subtitled Shattered Memories, on a list of upcoming releases at the local video store. This was the first that I’d ever heard of the game, so I had no idea what it was about, but I hated the idea of missing an entry in one of my favorite series. Therefore, I preordered it.

Even before I formally started the game, I listened to the soundtrack that came with the game, and I enjoyed it. I’ll go into more detail when I get to my Final Thoughts on the game.

When you start the game, it claims that it plays you as much as you play it. Your protagonist visits a therapist named Michael Kaufmann in a first-person perspective as they tell the story of what happened to an average Joe named Harry Mason…

Decisions that you make in the game subtly affect certain aspects, like the appearance of characters and monsters.

January 26th, 2010: So far… I’m intrigued by how it’s not a typical horror game.

The game begins in the dead of winter with Harry awaking from a car crash. He realizes that his daughter, Cheryl, is missing, so he goes to search for her. It doesn’t take him long to find some civilization at the Diner 52. There, he meets a female cop named Cybil Bennet.

cybil
Cybil

Harry realizes that he suffered some memory loss from the crash, but when he talked to Cybil, it triggered a memory of his address: 1206 Levin Street. He then suddenly received a call from home, but it was distorted by static.

Harry left the diner in search of his house. On the way there, he received another phone call where he heard the voice of Cheryl and someone else. Harry was panicked by the idea of a stranger being with Cheryl, but before he could rush home, the streets became consumed by ice.

Like many SH games, SM has its own idea of a parallel dimension that overtakes reality: the Ice World. In this world, Harry has to solve puzzles and elude strange, naked, fleshy creatures called Raw Shocks. SH: SM eschews direct combat, so Harry must flee from them or stun them with his flashlight’s beam or with heat from flares found in the Ice World.

If Harry suffered too much damage, he would pass out but then wake up in a safe place away from the monsters a short while later.

January 27th, 2010: I don’t know how to feel about the nightmare sections in this game. They seem disorienting… Although those monsters are freaky. They pounce on you and seem distorted by static.

After the therapy session where you color a house, the family that lives there, and their car, there is a scene where everything you colored is a part of Harry’s memories in Silent Hill…

When Harry fled the Ice World and went to the house on Levin Street, he found a couple living there. The wife said that she and her husband had lived in that house for 14 years. She and her husband thought that Cheryl was playing tricks on Harry.

Cybil arrived to take Harry to the police station to make sense of how he claimed to have owned that house.

The Cybil in this game is different from the Cybil in SH1.

Voicemails inexplicably wind up on Harry’s phone. One helped solve a puzzle involving a child’s toy. The child’s workaholic mother ignored her during a family vacation.

Her mother said she felt “suffocated”. I feel like that sometimes.

There was a creepy part where, after it knocked Harry out, a monster pretended to check if he was OK.

Cybil tried to take Harry to the police station, but they got lost in a snowstorm. Cybil left the car to try to find out where they were, but when she did not return, Harry wandered into the forest. He eventually found a hunting lodge, and then the football field of Midwich High School. Cybil called him and told him to go to the gym to find her again. The gym was sometimes used as a shelter during snowstorms. If Cheryl was caught up in the snowstorm, she may have found shelter there.

The next therapy session asks about Harry’s high school experience. I’ve realized at this point that the sessions parse the game’s stages.

Where is Cheryl? Does she even exist? The tape of Harry and Cheryl in the intro and title screen – who was holding the camera? Only one way to find out…

Earlier on in the game, Cheryl called Harry in a panic. She said that he wasn’t “the one”, and couldn’t help her.

January 28th, 2010: In the school’s art studio, all of the paintings kind of looked like Harry.

art

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