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The first time I played Silent Hill, the very first game in the series. I was not prepared. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But after years of playing, I think it's only fair that I let first-timers know exactly what they're getting into, with this list of tips.
Be very afraid of the radio.
It took me awhile to catch on to the importance of the little radio in Silent Hill. But just to save you some time, the radio can be used to spot enemies ahead of when they're jumping at you from within the fog/snow/ash. The radio will start to crackle louder once an enemy gets nearer and nearer. So if that radio is blaring white noise, you need to get the heck out of where you currently are to avoid the enemy that's stalling you. The radio could ultimately save your life, or keep you from fighting a fight before you are ready.
Use your ears.
In the first Silent Hill game, it's very easy sometimes to hear an enemy coming. For example, the Lying Figure that clumsily waddles down the street makes a lot of noise when it walks and you can hear it from a good distance away. Sometimes if you listen close enough, you can hear it just in time to run away, even before your radio starts going crazy. Use the subtle and clear atmospheric design of the game to your advantage and get the heck out of there before it has a chance to attack you. Sometimes, those things can really put up a good fight. That isn't the only creature that makes noise before it attacks you, you just have to use your ears and listen.
When in doubt, run like hell.
I never thought this was an option until things got too much for me one time and I took off running. Then before I knew it, I had escaped the threat. If you're walking down the street of Silent Hill and there's some sort of hellish monster coming after you and you just happen to be out of bullets, don't think twice about it: run away. Luckily in Silent Hill, you have the option sometimes of running away from the fight. And sometimes, it's the smart thing to do.
Be prepared every time you open a door.
The scariest part of Silent Hill for me was walking through a door too damn fast, not thinking and not ready for what might be on the other side. Sometimes when you go into a room in the hotel or the hospital, you sniff around and get what you need and stroll out the door, you don't realize that walking through that door can sometimes trigger a cutscene or spawn a Nurse to come after you. And if you aren't ready every time that door opens, you're going to pee your pants from jumpscare after jumpscare.