Standing between you and the locked doors are a small variety of creatures. The game's creepy monsters are one of Silent Hill 2's real strengths. Among the creepiest are the zombie nurses and a thing with four legs (and not much else). The scariest of all is the monster known only as "Pyramid Head," a creature that looks like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, bloody apron and all, wearing an industrial sink for a hat. There aren't many different creatures in Silent Hill 2, but the few that are there are unique and add to the general atmosphere.
The monsters look really great, as does most everything in Silent Hill 2. Though the artistic design may seem a bit too bleak and tend a bit too much toward the sadistic for some, the game does have a distinct look, as far as games go. Unfortunately, the graphics don't compensate for the confusing camera angles, which from the very beginning are problematic. In the very first room, you'll be hard pressed to find the exit door. Things get better when Sunderland heads out into the open and the camera switches from static angles to one that moves around him, but it moves at an occasionally slow pace that takes some getting used to. Thankfully, the PC version of Silent Hill 2 at least gives you plenty of graphic-tweaking options and even lets you save the game anywhere.
Real-time lighting and shadow effects add to the creepiness.
Silent Hill 2's sound adds a great deal to the atmosphere. The industrial-influenced soundtrack is subtle, until something scary approaches and the scary music kicks in. There's nothing like someone banging metal trash can lids, or Sunderland's radio suddenly blurting static whenever a monster is near, to add tension to a scene.
But the problem with Silent Hill 2 is that it's all atmosphere and no real scares. Though there are a few good scenes--such as the first time you see Pyramid Head--it becomes quickly apparent that there aren't many startling, truly scary moments to support the mood. Silent Hill 2 has repetitive puzzles and an implausible story, and you need to play through it several times to get the "good" ending. Not even the game's foggy atmosphere is thick enough to hide Silent Hill 2's problems.