"The fear of blood tends to create fear for the flesh."
After the success of Resident Evil, Konami jumped on the Survival Horror bandwagon with 1999's Silent Hill (now Silent Hill 1), the first game of Konami's Silent Hill franchise. Unlike Resident Evil, Konami designed Silent Hill as a more psychological take on the genre.Single father Harry Mason is taking his daughter Cheryl on a holiday to the resort town of Silent Hill. Disaster strikes as Harry swerves to avoid a girl standing in the road and crashes his car.When he regains consciousness, Harry finds that his car has crashed on the outskirts of Silent Hill, and Cheryl is nowhere to be found. He immediately starts searching for her, discovering that Silent Hill is eerily devoid of life, and shrouded in a perpetual, oppressive fog. And when the air-raid siren sounds, the town undergoes a sinister transformation...During his search for Cheryl, Harry meets several people: Cybil Bennett, a policewoman from a neighboring town investigating Silent Hill; Dahlia Gillespie, an elderly antiques dealer who offers to help Harry; Michael Kaufmann, a mysterious doctor who only seems intent on survival; Lisa Garland, a terrified nurse who implores Harry to protect her; and Alessa, a strange teenage girl who always seems to show up wherever Harry goes.It is hard to spoil the plot of Silent Hill because very little is explicitly stated. The story revolves around one man's personal struggle to find his daughter, his role as a pawn in a cosmic battle between two powerful entities over the power of a god, arcane rituals of an occult variety, reincarnation, possession, drug addiction, and alternative realities. The player receives few explanations for anything that happens, and the game often glosses over or completely ignores key events while presenting the player with intense imagery and deeply psychological horror.Silent Hill 1 offered a unique "psychological" experience during a period when Survival Horror games relied on "sudden fright" scares and Zombie Apocalypse-style action (inspired by the success of Resident Evil). Silent Hill 1's production team later produced Sony's Siren series, which also relied on a more "psychological" storyline.Konami released a remake/reimagining of this game (Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) in 2009.
Silent Hill 1 presents examples of the following tropes:
Arc Words/Catch Phrase/Driving Question: The first thing out of Harry's mouth whenever he runs into another NPC is almost always some variation of: "Have you seen a little girl? Short, black hair, just turned seven last month."
Beware Of Vicious Dog: Subverted early on; Harry runs straight into a BEWARE OF DOG sign, but find only intestines on the other side. K. Gordon's doghouse, however, is protected by two of these critters (regardless of what Harry says◊).
Big Red Button: The school's boiler room, and the hospital's power generator.
Bland-Name Product: The bag of jellybeans containing the Key of Bethor is a knockoff of the Jelly Belly persuasion.
There are several throughout Silent Hill, like Queen Burger, Convenience Store 8, and Benny's Diner.
Booby Trap: The fridge in Nowhere. It wouldn't be so bad, except that it's the only one in the entire game and happens without any warning.
The broken chains and ominous noises coming from inside the fridge should be warning enough.
Book Ends: The GOOD+ ending has Harry and Cybil find infant Cheryl in the cemetery just like in the opening cutscene. After saving, the opening cutscene of a Next Fear game begins with Cybil in the place of Harry's wife.
The final room in Nowhere is Alessa's old house. Heather revisits it in a later game.
Bowdlerise: The Japanese and PAL versions replace the Grey Children (which had already been toned down from their earlier versions) with the decapitated teddy bear-like Claw Finger, which wouldn’t have otherwise appeared until much later in the game. Their attacks are the same, though.
Brand X: All over the place, the most famous of which is the Vestal Gigastore (vestal as in vestal virgin; get it?). There’s also Queen Burger, Fedy-X Espresso parcels, Poston Market, the (S)Hell station with the nautilus shell icon, the Circle 8 convenience store with its 7-Eleven motif, and the AEC restaurant that was apparently inspired by A&W.
Cat Scare: Played straight until the cat leaves the scene, and then is devoured by an unseen monster; in the Otherworld, the same locker will still act as if being bumped from the inside by the creature, but opening it reveals a blood-coated, but empty, locker.
Chekhov's Gun: Two. One is the Flauros, which, like any good Chekhov's Gun, makes its purpose apparent at the right time. The other is the Aglaophotis, which may make its purpose apparent, and only after the knowledge is useful to either Harry or the player.
Clock Tower: In Midwich Elementery School's courtyard. Harry uses it to traverse into the Otherworld.
Do Not Run with a Gun: Harry is the worst marksman in the series by far. Justified in that he's a writer; the manual even says he's never fired a gun before. In-game, this translate into his accuracy dropping like a rock beyond a (very) short range.
This is the only game where its infamous nurses act the way they do because of a living parasite.
There is little emphasis on puzzles; the bulk of the gameplay is on survival and combat.
While specific choices during gameplay affect the other games' Multiple Endings, most of them also depend on the behavior of the player. This is the only game where the endings depend on choices alone (In this case, the endings depend on two things: whether Harry saves or kills Cybil Bennett, and whether he finds or doesn't find an important MacGuffin in Michael Kaufmann's apartment).
A minor difference is that the monsters don't have as much psychological symbolism as the monsters in later games. Instead, they're simply based off of things that Alessa was either interested in or afraid of (dogs, insects, fairy tale monsters).
Harry, unlike other protagonists, isn't a mentally disturbed person who may have repressed memories. He hasn't gone through any trauma (depending on the ending of some other games like Downpour, this does still happen from time to time) unless you count his wife dying prior to the game. He's just a regular man caught up in some insanity he doesn't understand and doesn't really hit a life changing revelation. He just gets Alessa out of the deal.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Play through the game and note something: only Larval Stalkers and Lisa of everything in the game, never attack, threaten, or antagonize you. And larval stalkers set off the radio, as well as have a mature form as an enemy. Yeah.
Even the fridge is trying to kill you.
Fantastic Drug: PTV, a hallucinogen derived from a local plant known as White Claudia. In lieu of a proper collection plate, The Order has been trafficking in the drug to fund its activities.
Fate Worse than Death: Alessa's fate as an "incubator" for the cult's god. In the scene before the final boss emerges, Dahlia says the trope's name word for word to explain to Harry what has happened to Alessa.
Final Boss: The Incubator (Alessa, fused with the cult's god) in the bad endings; the Incubus (the god itself, which Harry can expel from Alessa's body with the item from Kaufmann's apartment) in the good endings.
Fission Mailed: Beginning a new game involves an introductory scenario in which Harry is ambushed and killed by Grey Children, only to have him wake with a start in the diner.
Friendless Background: Alessa Gillespie was branded a witch in elementary school due to the manifestation of her telekinetic abilities. If Harry examines the facsimile of her classroom desk in Nowhere, the surface is scrawled with the words "GO HOME", "DROP DEAD", and "THIEF".
Golden Ending: Unlike Silent Hill 2, Harry's best bet is to try and save everyone. Cybil and Kaufmann can join him for the final boss fight, although Cybil is (as usual) of little use, while Kaufmann only appears if you helped him recover his vial. The Doc proves surprisingly resourceful in the showdown with Dahlia.
Having a Gay Old Time: Lisa reminiscing about Silent Hill's past. "Everyone followed some kind of queer religion."
Hilarious Outtakes: Only applies to the Bad+ ending and above. Various characters screw up as if they were actors in a film.
Infinity+1 Sword: The emergency hammer in Alchemilla Hospital's power generator room that's obtainable while in the otherworld. It is the best melee weapon you can find and is really good on Puppet Nurses and Puppet Doctors.
Dahlia burned Alessa for her to eventually give birth to the cult's god. At the end of the game, she gets burned to death by that same god.
Kaufmann was abusive towards Lisa and forced her into the psychologically-traumatic job of watching Alessa by using her drug habit as leverage. In the Good and Good+ endings, she hauls him off to his demise.
Multiple Endings: They're a staple of the series, and this game features five of them. The ending you get depends on Cybil's fate and whether or not you found an important item in Michael Kaufmann's apartment.
The "BAD Ending": The worst ending of the game, it happens if you don't get the item and Cybil dies. Everything turns out to have All Just a Dream, and Harry is dead, still in his broken-down car.
"BAD+ Ending": Happens if you don't get the item and Cybil lives. After Alessa disappears, Cybil asks Harry to escape town.
"GOOD Ending": Happens if you get the item and Cybil dies. Kaufmann reveals to have allied with Dahlia; when the deity within Alessa is defeated, Alessa is reborn as an infant. Harry finds her in a graveyard and takes her home with him.
"GOOD+ Ending": The best ending, happening if you save Cybil and get the item. It's identical to the GOOD ending, but this time, Cybil escapes with Harry and baby Alessa.
There is also a joke ending where Harry gets abducted by aliens.
Nice Job Breaking It, Harry: Twofold: He is being used as a pawn by Dahlia, with potentially world-ending results, and in a more heartbreaking sense, Harry may be able to acquire the means to save Cybil's life before it becomes necessary to do so. The only problem is, he doesn't know he has the means until after he kills her, which would have to make the final encounter that much more sickening for the man.
Nintendo Hard: Compared to later games in the series, most parts of the Otherworld are extremely hazardous, with the volume of enemies pumped up to ridiculous levels. This is particularly true of the city streets, where darting from building to building is your only viable way to stay uneaten.
No Name Given: Harry's late wife, who is only seen once, during the opening sequence. Harry doesn't even mention her until his first conversation with Dr. Kaufmann, where he states that she died four years prior to the current events.
Supplemental material later identifies her as "Jodie".
Offscreen Teleportation: The carousel boss has a nasty habit of doing this. Whenever you run to the opposite side, the enemy reappears from nowhere, casually lounging on a carousel horse.
Papa Wolf: Harry is willing to fight his way through hordes of monsters and insane cultists to find his daughter.
Portal Picture: In the school's waiting room, Harry comments that the gory painting is in poor taste. He ends up inside of it in the Otherworld.
Puppeteer Parasite: The 'worm' controlling Achemilla Hospital's staff. This is the first (and only) instance of Silent Hill's Nurses being linked with an external parasite.
Ray Gun: One of the unlockable weapons for Next Fear mode. The aliens gave the Konami light gun to Harry after abducting him in the UFO ending. The color of its laser sight varies to indicate the firepower it packs with each shot, which is determined by the rank attained in the previous playthrough.
Remixed Level: "Nowhere" is a return trip through Midwitch, Achemilla, the shopping mall, and Dahlia's store.
Seeking Sanctuary: After the long, horrific experience of the Otherworld school, Harry is drawn to the Balkan church by the sound of its bells. This is perhaps the only part of the game where there are no monsters present on the streets, not including the very beginning.
Midwitch Elementary's exterior and textures are modeled from — get this — Kindergarten Cop. Even a few of the school posters are identical to the film. Here are some screenshot comparisons.
Alessa's old teacher, "K. Gordon," is a reference to Sonic Youth bass guitarist Kim Gordon. This is confirmed by the reference to three more teachers who bear the names of "T. Moore", "L. Ranaldo" and "S. Shelley" (Kim's fellow bandmates, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, and Steve Shelley).
At the locker room; one of the lockers open up and the locker in front of you suddenly opens, and a dead body wrapped in a bag falls out of it. This could be a Shout-Out to one of the nightmares sequences from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), when Tina's corpse (clad in a body bag) slumps out of a locker.
The drug the cult is selling, PTV, is named after the band Psychic TV. You can find boxes containing the drug which have the band's full name on them.
Michael Kaufman is named after Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman, the produces of Troma Studios.
Cheryl Mason, gets her name from the actress Sheryl Lee; who starred as Laura Palmer on Twin Peaks. Furthermore Lisa Garland's surname comes from the actress Judy Garland.
The Stinger: Both the good and bad endings have them, though with very different implications.
Swallowed Whole: This is a big danger when tangling with Split Head. This battle will test your strafing skill.
Teleporting Keycard Squad: The sewer exit key. Immediately after grabbing it, a horde of Hanged Scratchers chase after Harry, forcing him back the way he came. Hope you memorized where the dead ends are.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything - In the dark Harry is safer with the light off, so monsters cannot spot him at a distance. For traveling long distances Harry is better off running without the light on, consulting the map as necessary. But if it's dark, the game won't let Harry see the map without the light on. Too dark to read the map. is the message. Harry also won't pick up items in the dark. One post-Game Over hint flat-out states that it's impossible to complete the game with the light off.
Ticking Clock: Dahlia warns that Harry has to stop the Mark of Samael from appearing all over town, or else reality will be irrecoverable.
Token Romance: The Good ending suggests this between Harry and Cybil.
Tomato in the Mirror: Lisa is actually another Puppet Nurse. Once Lisa ventures into the hospital basement, she starts to put two and two together..
Turns Red: Shooting at Split Head eventually causes its mandibles to start drooling. That can't be good...
Twitchy Eye: Lisa invokes this during her fourth appearance.
Undead Child: The Grey Children in the school evoke this, as do their shadowy counterparts in Nowhere. The Larval Stalkers cause radio interference, but prove otherwise harmless. Some players actually like the little critters (since everything elsewants to kill the player).
Unwinnable by Mistake: At the end of the game, a player gets to see their stats; while the game features a certain number of items, it hides one of these items by making it invisible, which means players who don't know about this item will never get everything.