To be honest, I have not run fsck manually for years. With reiserfs, if filesystem is not clean, it automatically runs on startup and there is no interaction. The check needs to be run on a system mounted as read only, so you can not really check your root system on a running system.
I just tested this on my system, checked an unmounted partition. You actually have to type "Yes" (captialized), otherwise it just exits without any feedback.
If you suspect your hard drive may be failing, I recommend the Ultimate Boot CD: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
Boot from this handy tool and run the included hard drive diagnostics.
To find your make of hard drive, run "hdparm -i /dev/XXX" (replace XXX with hda, sdb or whatever your drive is).
Or, if you can easily take it out, just look at the label.