As certain recent forays into games probably designed for small children and girls may have revealed, I've been playing far too much Silent Hill lately. I haven't played Animal Crossing at all because I finished paying off my debt and suddenly my avatar no longer had a purpose for his existence. I know I complained about the debt when I had it, but now it's gone away, I kind of miss it. It's like, at least people paid attention to me when I owed them money, if only to make veiled threats.

But now I play Silent Hill too much, because it is the most awesome series in the world that proves if proof be needed that the Japanese are just so much better at this whole 'horror' thing. But after I had finally seen the last of the endings, including the really silly ones the designers put a suspicious amount of effort into, I found myself contemplating the following conundrum.

Who, between the main protagonists of all four Silent Hill games, is the best?

For this experiment our four plucky heroes will undergo a brief tournament, being tested in a variety of everyday situations, so that we can truly discover once and for all which one is the best. Let's meet our contestants.

Handsome Harry Mason (Silent Hill)

In the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, there is a moment when it is suggested that Arthur Dent acquire an electronic brain, whereupon Zaphod Beeblebrox states, "All you'd have to do is program it to say 'what' and 'I don't understand' and 'where's the tea' and who'd notice the difference?" Had he replaced the word 'tea' with 'daughter', he could very easily have been talking about Harry Mason. Harry is a confused young fellow with a strange habit of saying 'what the hell's going on?' out loud when there is no-one else in the room, like he's expecting the rusty grating floor to have an answer for him.

Strengths: Probably the most muscular of the four. Undying determination to find his daughter in the face of unspeakable horror.

Weaknesses: Since corpses, bloodstained hospital beds and evil dark parallel worlds never cease to be novel for Harry, we can only presume he has a memory span of about an hour.

Smotherin' James Sunderland (Silent Hill 2)

James shares a number of qualities with Harry - prettyboy good looks, spends most of his time in Silent Hill searching for beloved female relative, permanent state of total cluelessness - but gives an overall better impression by not vocalising his confusion morning, noon and night. No, James is largely a silent protagonist, and with good reason, because of his tendency to put his foot in it whenever he opens his big stupid mouth. This was the man who, when a gun wielding psychopath announced his intention to murder the next person who makes fun of them, immediately responds with the words 'have you gone nuts?', then acts all surprised when he gets a bullet up his big stupid arse.

Strengths: Wears an army jacket, so possible military background? Whether that's the case or not, by the end of the game James has murdered a total of 2 human beings, so has had the most practise in the arts of combat.

Weaknesses: Suffers from frustrated libido that allows him to be easily swayed by slutty chicks who look like his dead wife.

Hate-filled Heather Morris (Silent Hill 3)

Heather is the only girl protagonist in the Silent Hill series, but don't write her off - she's also the only player character who has the sense to put on some body armour at some point. Heather is not your average teenage girl, partly because of certain dark secrets from her past that get revealed mid-way through Silent Hill 3, but mainly because she looks like she gets her hair cut with a lawn edger. She's also just about the only Silent Hill protagonist who doesn't walk around as confused as an Alzheimer's victim all the time.

Strengths: Aforementioned body armour, and very strong righteous indignation.

Weaknesses: The whole 'pregnant with demon god' thing. This may, however, work in her favour, if any of the other three have any gentlemanly tendencies at all.

Henry 'Daydream Believer' Townshend (Silent Hill 4: The Room)

Handsome in a Gerry Anderson puppet sort of way, Henry Townshend spends his game battling the subconscious mind of Walter Sullivan, a bizarre occult serial killer, but if you accept fanart as canonical then the two eventually make up and form a beautiful homosexual relationship. I've no idea why the pseudo-people who infest the DeviantArt community think Henry and Walter would have a whirlwind romance, I'd have thought they'd get the hint that maybe the two aren't suited around the time they were trying to murder each other with axes.

Strengths: Probably the smartest of the four, because he's the only one who didn't blunder into Silent Hill of his own free will.

Weaknesses: Virtually everyone he meets gets horribly murdered about five minutes later. If Deviantart is to be believed, this is Walter Sullivan's way of flirtatiously getting his attention.


Task: Going to a cinema and watching Big Momma's House 2

Match: Harry Vs. James

The round starts off badly as both participants have to spend about ten minutes going around the entire cinema complex trying all the doors and raiding the unlocked storage rooms for first aid kits and individual bottles of Yakult, so the film is already underway by the time they have drifted in and been ordered by the ushers to turn off their bloody stupid pocket flashlights. Unfortunately the plot is too complex and impenetrable for Harry, and he is swiftly ordered out by management when constantly shouting out 'what's going on here!' does not go down well with other patrons.

James lasts a little longer, but his presence causes the film to become snowy after a while and then become a film of James committing dastardly crimes. It does not improve the moviegoing experience, but nobody suspects James' involvement, and he is even able to get a refund from an apologetic management.

Winner: James


Task: Going to Tesco's and buying a punnet of watercress

Match: Heather Vs. Henry

With a certain amount of resigned apathy, Heather watches as the demon seed in her womb turns the entire supermarket into a rusty blood-soaked Otherworld nightmare, transforming all the shelf stackers into arcane beings of lunatic construction. She then proceeds to beat them all to death with a baguette. She finally tracks down the watercress after collecting the Sun Plate, Moon Plate and World Plate from the dairy aisle and arranging them under a mural of babies being crucified. She flees the supermarket with the watercress tucked under her arm after shooting dead the counter clerk before he could bite off her face.

To Henry, the supermarket does not become a wretched cathedral of crimson unpiety, but Walter insists on tagging along and murdering everyone Henry so much as waves to. Henry begins to seriously consider having a stern conversation with Walter as soon as they get home.

Winner: Heather. They both got the watercress, but she didn't have to pay for it.


Task: Having a five-letter name containing the letters H, R and Y

Match: Harry Vs. Henry

I'm basically trying to speed things up, here.

Winner: Tie


Task: A dinner for two with a prospective suitor

Match: James Vs. Heather

Heather takes some Alka-Seltzer before setting off, thus preventing the demon seed from infecting the world like last time. Her date - let's call him Ezekiel - is kept waiting for half an hour while Heather attempts to decypher her table number from the devious riddle posted at the front entrance, but she eventually tracks him down and the date proper begins. However, Ezekiel soon finds that she diverts almost every topic of conversation onto the subject of her father, and how much of a great guy he is. While Heather is talking about how important it is to have an understanding father around when you're being pounced on by zombie dogs all day, Ezekiel testily snaps that perhaps she should go on dinner dates with her father if he's so great. Heather considers this thoughtfully, and Ezekiel is extremely disturbed.

James, meanwhile, has a great time with an extremely attractive young lady. James can't believe how many things he and the girl have in common, and the genuine interest she shows in him and his turgid life. However, when she suggests they head back to her place to check out her windchime collection, he realises that he is actually sitting in the burnt remains of an abandoned restaurant, sharing a bottle of methylated spirits with a homeless man, and everything was merely a stress-induced delusion. He makes his excuses and leaves, after grudgingly giving a fake phone number to the homeless man.

Winner: Tie

Well, this adventure got us precisely nowhere, so it's time for the tie breaker round. In this event, all four Silent Hill protagonists engage in a battle royale to the last man standing.

The rules are simple. Each combatant is armed with the shitty default melee weapon they started their respective games with, and all of them are seeing each other as evil monsters, so no allegiances can be formed. The fight goes on until all but one individual is incapacitated in any way shape or form, be that death, serious injury or threatening to go home and call their big brothers.

Harry's weapon: Kitchen knife. Michael Myers' weapon of choice does Harry no favours in the streets of Silent Hill, it being only slightly more effective than blowing a party squeaker in a monster's face.

James' weapon: Board with nails in. At the start of Silent Hill 2, James is cornered by a monster but is able to pull off a nearby fence post to defend himself with. The board still had some nails on the end. This was a stroke of good luck. Those nails could very easily have been in the middle of the board, or even on the end he was holding, which would not have been pleasant to wield.

Heather's weapon: Switchblade. She has the benefit of being armed with the only weapon that isn't improvised from something not intended to be a weapon. While the people who designed Harry's kitchen knife were only considering the ease with which it would pass through cheesecake, Heather's weapon was streamlined for maximum convenient jugular slicing.

Henry's weapon: Wine bottle. At the beginning of his game, Henry's fridge contains nothing but a wine bottle and some chocolate milk. The reasons for this are unclear. Personally, I think he was trying to encourage them to breed and create an all-powerful new strain of chocolate wine that would make him millions. This plan is swiftly abandoned when the wine bottle proves good for breaking in half and sticking in people's faces, and the chocolate milk becomes necessary for winning the favour of difficult children.

The arena is a hospital rooftop, since this is pretty much neutral ground for all four participants. So, who wins? You decide!

If you think Harry should win, turn to page 87
If you think James should win, turn to
page 4
If you think Heather should win, turn to
page 101
If you think Henry should win, turn to
page 16
If you're sick of this whole stupid business, turn to
page 300

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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