The horror genre is remarkably versatile, but the medium of video games is where it truly shines.
There are so many different kinds of horror, from psychological, slasher, creature feature, comedy-infused, but 'Silent Hill 2' practically invents a new kind of horror: the utterly relentless and soul-destroying kind.
In the spirit of Halloween, we are revisiting 'Silent Hill 2', which for our money, is the greatest horror game of the last 25 years.
'Silent Hill 2' is so unsettling and disturbing to play that it makes you physically uncomfortable and leaves you wanting to take a long, warm bath and watch some episodes of 'The Simpsons' in your pyjamas.
'Silent Hill 2' wasn't the first, nor indeed will be the last game to present horror, but the game remains head and shoulders above the rest for a very simple reason: psychology.
Once 'Silent Hill 2' gets in your head, it takes up permanent residence.
The story of 'Silent Hill 2' stars the fabulously neurotic James Sunderland who travels to the titular town after receiving a letter from his wife.
James suspects something may be up on account of his wife being dead for 3 years, so he travels to the titular town to figure out the source of this delayed letter - and it wasn't delayed because of a postal strike.
The original 'Silent Hill' was released on the PlayStation One back in 1999, and work on a sequel began almost straight away.
The key to understanding the success of 'Silent Hill 2' is understanding the cultural context the game was released in.
As we have stated in these series of articles, the timing and release of a game has an awful lot to do with how the culture is feeling at a given moment, and in the case of 2001, the slow-burning brand of Japanese horror was very much in style.
Horror films like 'Ringu', 'Audition' and 'Pulse' were either critical or commercial successes with audiences, which made for a nice change of pace from the American brand of horror that had become a bit too self-aware for its own good by 2001.
The horror boom in video games was kickstarted by 'Resident Evil' back in 1996 (and surprise! - our next entry in the series will be about 'Resident Evil 4') but even those games had lost a lot of the tension that made them great to begin with.
We'll discuss it more in length in the article, but the genius of 'Resident Evil 4' was leaning into the inherent campness of the series and dropped the horror pretense, turning the game into an 'Evil Dead' style romp.
'Silent Hill' was well positioned to scare the living daylights out of players, and it did so with aplomb.
The genius of 'Silent Hill 2' goes back to a point we like to emphasise in these articles: gaming allows you to engage with art like never before, and 'Silent Hill 2' in essence lets you control your darkest nightmares.
The famous fog (which was a necessity of the PlayStation 1's weak graphical capability) is kept for the sequel, which is a masterstroke of design.
Horror is infinitely more scary if you don't know what is coming down the track, and 'Silent Hill 2' plays with this perfectly.
We're about to head into spoiler territory, but suffice to say, if you enjoy your horror and still haven't gotten around to playing 'Silent Hill 2', be sure to check it out.
The big twist in 'Silent Hill 2' pulls the rug out from under the player, but it feels earned.
The revelation that James killed his wife and the letter he received was a manifestation of his guilt is one of the great plot twists in any medium, and Freud would have a field day breaking down the psychological make-up of James Sunderland.
Grief and guilt, and what it does to the mind, has inspired some of the greatest art, and in the case of 'Silent Hill 2' it tips the game into masterpiece territory.
The revelation that the famous fog that has enveloped the town is a manifestation of Sunderland's mind is as effective a visual shorthand as you can get into video gaming - it's a simple trick that is incredibly well done.
The pea soup fog is an essential ingredient to the 'Silent Hill' franchise, which is what makes later games turning into generic third-person action games that much more depressing.
Of course, you can't discuss 'Silent Hill 2' without its iconic baddie - Pyramid Head.
Pyramid Head is one of gaming's most famous villain characters, and for a character who represents James' repressed, frustrated libido, he has become surprisingly popular among the public.
Even though he doesn't speak, the lumbering giant still manages to put the fear of god into you, with his laboured moans and shambling walk more than enough to send you reaching for a change of pants.
Subsequent games in the 'Silent Hill' series took the wrong lessons from Pyramid Head - he was never meant to become the series' mascot.
The character works well here because he is a manifestation of James Sunderland's wonderfully neurotic mind - it makes less sense when he shows up in later games like Judge Judy handing down a sentence to someone.
'Silent Hill 2' is similar to classic horror films like 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' or 'Halloween' where they get it so right and perfect that subsequent sequels fail to recognise the genius of what they had to begin with.
The series has been dead for 10 years, and could possibly make a comeback, but a word of advice for any budding developers: return the series to it's roots.
'Resident Evil 4' set the franchise down the path of debacle, and 'Silent Hill 2' did the same thing for that series.
Taking the wrong lessons from what worked the first time ended up killing the franchise, and in a lot of ways, the 'Silent Hill' series should have ended with 2.
You can only go to the well so many times - Pryamid Head becomes less shocking when he pops up for a fan-mandated cameo and the protagonist is able to defeat the enemies.
James Sunderland is an amazingly awkward man who probably has trouble opening a packet of crisps, and yet giving him non-existent fighting skills is a stroke of genius on the developers part.
The moment your character is able to defeat the monsters or overcome their personal demons, the dramatic tension is lost.
By making 'Silent Hill 2' an oppressive death march that eats away at your conscious, it gains an incredible amount of power.
Very few games are able to get into your head as well as 'Silent Hill 2', and indeed, not many movies or television shows can do that too.
We hammer on this theme in our articles, but over the last 25 years gaming has been able to surpass what Hollywood or a good book can do, because it puts you at the centre of the action.
'Silent Hill 2' is an exercise in grim, unrelenting terror - and we wouldn't have it any other way.