Since its inception in 1999, the Silent Hill series has been keeping gamers up all night in fear. Spanning several console generations, the series is currently in something a lull, although the franchise is far from dead as it keeps making guest appearances in other games such as Dark Deception: Monsters and Mortals and Dead by Daylight.
Every Silent Hill fan has a different reason for loving the series, but one of the most critical features of the games is the deeply ominous environments the players find themselves lost in. From creepy hospitals swarming with demonic nurses to ghostly amusement parks, Silent Hill knows how to scare players from the moment they enter a room.
10 The Labyrinth
Silent Hill 2 is considered to be one of the essential games of the series, notable for its dark story and even darker locations. Protagonist, James Sunderland, finds himself in an underground maze underneath the town’s historical society, but this is no ordinary basement. The claustrophobic hallways are suffocating, the twists and turns are a confusing jungle, and not to mention Pyramid Head is roaming around looking for James. This nightmarish environment is littered with creepy puzzles and dimly lit rooms before leading into the remains of Toluca Prison.
9 Central Square Shopping Center
Shopping malls aren’t inherently scary by themselves, but even the most innocent locales take on a sinister ambiance in the world of Silent Hill. The third game starts off with protagonist, Heather Mason, trying to get home from a day spent at the local mall. Things take a turn for the worse and Heather finds herself in a living nightmare trying to stay alive amidst the demons and hazardous pitfalls. The abandoned mall has an unmistakably creepy vibe that establishes the evil Heather is about to face.
The last area of the first game is a literal nightmare, featuring blood covered walls, diabolical puzzles, and a maze-like design that can easily confuse players on their first playthrough. Despite its age, this frightening cult purgatory still pops off the screen and challenges players to use their wits to escape the barbarous inferno. The first game established Silent Hill as a town where suffering is only the beginning of the terror, but Nowhere established the town as a realm where hallucinations merge with reality.
7 Brookhaven Hospital
The Silent Hill series is known for its hospitals, in fact a few different medical centers exist throughout the games. Brookhaven is a mental hospital that appears in several games, typically filled with demon nurses and other macabre creatures.
Not only are there plenty of scary monsters to startle players, but some truly unsettling auditory illusions such as a squealing pig and ghostly heavy breathing. It’s a little too easy to get lost in the dark corridors within this unhallowed hospital.
6 Hazel Street Station
Silent Hill 3 takes Heather Mason to some startlingly terrifying locations, giving players very little time to catch their breathes. Directly after her time at the shopping mall, Heather finds herself alone in a desolate subway. Well, almost alone. The eerie stillness of the dark stairwells and decrepit ambiance only adds to the turbulent dread that permeates throughout the game. Heather also has the opportunity to run into a vengeful ghost in a spooky Easter egg sequence.
5 Room 302
The town of Silent Hill is reserved for demons and other abnormal entities, but the apartments in the nearby town of Ashfield are inhabited by something else entirely: ghosts. Most of Silent Hill 4’s events take place in and around the dreaded room 302, a mysterious apartment room that seems to have taken on a twisted life of its own. Strange hauntings include blood on the walls and in the fridge, shadowy figures, and eerie hallucinations that torment the player.
4 Lakeside Amusement Park
It’s kind of hard to picture people having fun in a town in Silent Hill, but nevertheless, there is a full blown amusement park in the town. Filled with dead mascots, gruesome monsters, and grim architecture, this tourist attraction is more of a tourist trap.
The attractions are pretty terrifying too. The haunted house is more haunted than the name would have players believe and the roller coaster is more of a maze than a ride.
3 Midwich Elementary School
The Silent Hill series does a stellar job of taking innocent locations and turning them into living nightmares. One of the most iconic areas of the first game is Midwich Elementary School, a usually harmless institute that is transformed into a den of horror thanks to the diabolical cult that operates in the underbelly of the town. Filled with hostile monsters and plenty of demented illusions, this is one of the scariest locations in the classic first game.
2 Walter’s Otherworlds
The Otherworld is a strange and scarcely explained plane of existence beyond the real world. In Silent Hill 4, the player is sucked into the psychotic mind games of antagonist Walter Sullivan. Each Otherworld takes the symbolic form of Walter’s tormented existence, cluttered with his victim’s ghosts and other monstrous creatures. Each Otherworld is a challenging entanglement of neurosis and terror, their ream-like structures are not only deeply unsettling, but an intricate look into the darker depths of the Silent Hill series.
1 Hilltop Center
From one nightmare to another, Silent Hill 3 takes players through some legitimately horrifying locations. After surviving both the mall and the subway, Heather finds herself in an abandoned office complex. As the hallways morph into rusty metal grates and the creatures get more and more aggressive, the dreadful ambiance amplifies tenfold. The mannequin room alone is a perfect example of the psychological horror that the series is known for. Things get even scarier when the Otherworld creeps in and Heather finds herself alone with some unexpected guests.