Video Game: Silent Hill 3

One girl versus a mad, mad world.

Whereas Silent Hill 2 featured a story divorced from Silent Hill, Silent Hill 3 — the third game in Konami's Silent Hill franchise — picks up seventeen years after the events of the first game.

During a trip to the mall, seventeen-year-old Heather gets approached by a shady detective named Douglas who wants to talk to her about her past. Heather shuns him as a stalker and slips away... only to end up trapped within a hellish otherworld populated by grotesque monsters.

Heather struggles to return home and make sense of what happened, but she finds herself stalked by the mysterious otherworld, which corrodes her surroundings wherever she goes. She receives "help" from two people during her quest: Claudia Wolf, a strange woman who urges Heather to "remember who she really is"; and Vincent, an enigmatic preacher with an agenda of his own.

SH1 based its otherworld on hospital trauma. SH2 based its otherworld on guilt and lust. The otherworld of SH3 preys on typical female (and to a lesser extent, teenage) fears such as unwanted pregnancy, rape, miscarriage, and insecurity, and the story and mood of this game (like the games before it) embrace a theme related to those fears — in this case, helplessness. The story also uses several forms of symbolism related to these themes and their associated fears to drive the story. That symbolism makes sense when players discover Heather has become the unwilling carrier of the fetus of the cult's God and notice the heavy imagery symbolism in all the game's monsters, used in similar fashion to Silent Hill 2's monsters.

The story of SH3 also forms the basis of the story for Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.

This game has a Shout-Out page.

Silent Hill 3 contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The infamous red light at the end of the Borley Haunted Mansion. You are not allowed to pause the game, and if you run too fast into a wall, Heather has to take some time to recover. Oh, and you have to run from it twice!
  • Adult Fear: While some of the game is about teenage fears—like appearance, identity, and uneasy sexuality — even an adult can identify with the terror of being stalked and watched by hostile entities. Just as well, female adults can identify even more than males with the themes and horror present than males because the majority of the game focuses on female fears in particular, such as unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, rape, botched or forced abortion, with the overall theme being helplessness. While helplessness can be felt by anyone, it is a fear far more commonly associated with females than males.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Vincent offers an in-universe example as seen in the quote at the top of the page. One ending more or less makes this real.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: By completing the game under certain conditions, you get passwords that you can input in the game to unlock new outfits for Heather.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Heather, by virtue of carrying the cult's unborn god. And Claudia willingly assumes the role once Heather uses the aglaophotis to reject the god and vomit it out.
  • Artistic License Biology: You don't grow babies in your stomach. Therefore it's a bit difficult to throw them up or incubate them by swallowing them. The scene in question had more in common with a chestburster than an actual baby, especially since the "baby" is just the physical manifestation of Heather's dark vision of the cult's god. Obviously this is Rule of Scary, since it doesn't stop the scene from being utterly horrifying.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The ordinary Submachine Gun. It does excellent damage, but you can only aim up and down with it after you've started firing, and it burns up a magazine's worth of ammo at about the same rate as it does in real life (that is to say, fast).
  • Book Ends: Not only does the nightmare at the beginning give you a preview of the last area (at least, the last area before you wind up in the church, which doubles as a "Nowhere" type of area similar to the first game's, with pieces of various other places showing up inexplicably within its architecture), it happens to also be the same place that Harry ultimately wound up in during the last part of Silent Hill 1. Additionally, Silent Hill 2 concluded at a hotel that was just around the corner from the Lakeside Amusement Park, so all three more or less ended in the same general area.
    • More specifically, all three ended with the main character getting to the other side of Toluca Lake by either walking around it or by boat, a journey which pretty much cuts them off from the rest of the town, and any help they may have.
  • Boring but Practical: The katana, when compared to the Beam Sabre. The Beam Sabre looks a lot flashier and is capable of dealing more damage, but is easily interrupted by enemy attacks. The katana is instantly ready for action, but the Beam Sabre takes a couple of precious seconds to turn on.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Literally with the Infinite Submachine Gun, unlocked by killing the final boss with a melee strike.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Heather can obtain one early in the game. It'll allow her to take less damage, but she can't move as fast.
  • Call Back: The save points in Silent Hill 1 are in the form of notepads Harry finds lying around the town and the narration says that he's leaving notes of his experiences in case anyone ends up in the same situation. Towards the end of the game you find some of these notes.
    • One transition to the Otherworld is also punctuated by a direct quote from the first game:
    Harry: It's being invaded by the Otherworld. By a world of someone's nightmarish delusions come to life...
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Heather HEZZAH Beam/Sexy beeeeeam.
  • Camp: Vincent has a bit of this (e.g. criticizing Claudia's "decorations"), though nothing over-the-top.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Heather's pendant. Doubly so for those who played the first game and remembered what the red poultice was for.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Vincent.
  • Confessional: Seen in the Church. The choice you make inside plays a significant part in determining which ending you get on a second playthrough.
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: Heather is wearing one. Fixed camera angles and occasional use of shadow prevent us from seeing a Panty Shot.
  • Dead Weight: Insane Cancers. They're also Lightning Bruisers, so you better be careful.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Heather. She starts out mocking Douglas when most would be intimidated by his "gruff detective act", but when things start going to hell, this aspect of her personality diminishes a bit, since she's (with good reason) scared out of her wits. As time goes on and she starts accepting the madness around her, she starts up again, in particular snarking directly to the face of God herself.
    • Douglas has some shades of this as well. One notable instance is when, after realizing the consequences of doing his job (particularly how finding Heather eventually led to Harry's death), he confronts Claudia. She simply states that her goal is to bring Paradise on Earth, a place with no pain, no sorrow, no tears. To which Douglas replies:
    Douglas: No this, no that, no nothing. A paradise — for castrated sheep, maybe. Sounds pretty boring.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: As noted in the introduction, there's a lot of symbolism in the game which is very overtly sexual, ranging from towering enemies with heads and faces resembling female genitalia, to Slurpers, whose attack animation is unsettlingly reminiscent of some form of molestation or rape. There's also lots of symbolism pertaining to the idea of how frightening it would be to have an obsessive stalker and how helpless one would feel in such a situation, and Heather seems to have a fear of this (as many women do) ranging from her distrust of Douglas, to the disturbing love letters from Stanley Coleman, the horridly violent poem that provides clues for how to open a number combination lock (which seems to have implications hinting at its author being the hospital's chief of staff who the player finds out was sexually harassing and/or assaulting nurses who were caught abusing patients) and Valtiel, who follows Heather throughout the game, always watching, and occasionally appears in positions which appear very voyeuristic. See Skirts and Ladders.
  • Empty Room Until The Trap: In one infamous case: empty, locked room until something from the reflection in the mirror starts to kill you.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Vincent objects to Claudia's method of bringing their god into the world after seeing how hellish her Otherworld is.
  • Evil Brit: Claudia, which is strange, since Silent Hill is in America and her own father has an American accent.
  • Evil Twin: Heather is attacked by Alessa's Memory on the merry-go-round, the same place where Harry fought a possessed Cybil in Silent Hill 1, and Alessa's Memory uses the same weapons that Heather has been using throughout the game. Yes, this includes the steel pipe and the submachine gun.
    • Not so much the "Evil" aspect though as her reasons for trying to kill Heather are to prevent the God's birth and spare Heather and the world from the endless suffering that will come if the God is birthed.
  • Fetus Terrible: The god in Heather's womb. After she spews it up, Claudia grabs it and swallows it herself. Yummy.
  • Fission Mailed: Doubles as a Call Back to the first game; the playable Nightmare Sequence at the beginning of the game. It ends when Heather is run over by a runaway roller coaster; or if Heather dies any other way, like from falling off or getting killed by the monsters. Of course, that sequence was All Just a Dream. However, the player should take note to do something about it later in the game when Heather reaches the amusement park for real; otherwise, the exact same thing occurs, with a more permanent outcome this time. Succeeding New Game Pluses, however, start right from the cutscene where Heather wakes up.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Claudia. Eventually remembered, though it's Alessa who remembers and is speaking through Heather, not Heather herself remembering. Heather never found out who she was until Alessa possessed her in that conversation and called her "sister."
  • Four Is Death: Heather has to kill Dark Alessa four times in the same boss fight.
  • Game Over Man: On various places, Valtiel drags away Heather's body if you die.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Averted. Evidently, every time Heather dies, it's actually Valtiel who resurrects her.
  • Gorn: The clue for the hospital's keypad puzzle on hard mode, describing in extremely graphic detail a person mutilating and eating another person's face. Which is supposed to be a metaphor for which buttons you press on the keypad. And it's also a love letter! In a nearby diary of Stanley's, he says the doctor is the one who created the number code, which implies that the poem was written by said doctor. It gets even creepier when you find out the same doctor took a nurse into a special treatment room when she was caught abusing a patient, and is very heavy implied to have seriously sexually abused her in there. You even find a nurse enemy in one of the rooms right next to the memo that tells you this. Thus, the poem is implied to have been the twisted doctor writing to the nurse he eventually abused.
    Memo written by a fellow nurse: "The Chief is a pervert! Christie would have been better off if she had been fired...."
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Because this is a Survival Horror game, you might think that combat is best avoided. Not necessarily. There are separate Achievements for killing large numbers of enemies with firearms and melee weapons, and getting both of them in the same playthrough would require a determined effort. Unlocking the Heather Beam requires you to kill 333 enemies, but this can be accumulated over separate playthroughs.
  • Groin Attack: Several monsters will attack Heather's crotch if they get close enough.
  • Guide Dang It: A big reason to be wary of choosing the Hard Puzzle mode.
    • The infamous William Shakespeare puzzle on hard mode, which not only requires you to have a comprehensive knowledge of Shakespeare, but also expects you to figure out that you need to do math in the middle of the puzzle to multiply and change certain numbers. Even if you know your Shakespeare it's a bigtime Moon Logic Puzzle.
    • The puzzle of "Who Killed Cock Robin?" It requires the player to realize that the diaries of #7, Stanley Coleman, are another hint to the puzzle, when most people assume the poems on each body and the poem on the crematory door are the only clues. Without knowing Stanley's diaries are an important clue to the third verse of the poem, this puzzle becomes impossible to figure out unless you know a specific fact about a fairly unknown species of bird.
    • While there are a few hints as to what's really in Heather's pendant, there's not really any way to know when it's supposed to be used without consulting a guide. It helps if you played the first game, though, and remembered the aglaophotis which could save Cybil and exorcise the God out of Alessa.
    • In the hospital level, the security door's combination must be figured out from a very vague and sickly violent poem that requires the player to know they need to visualize the keybad as the face described in the poem. But it gets even worse when a nearby diary entry from another character specifically states that the code is more than four numbers and it's not; it's four numbers exactly. So even if the player can figure out the visualization trick, he's still going to be trying five digit codes instead of four. This is arguably the the most obscure puzzle in the game due to the fact that it lies to your face about how many numbers it is, with no hint to the contrary.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Extreme difficulty levels, of which there are a total of ten. Your reward for completing the last of the Extreme levels? A password for an extra costume. Granted, said costume features the most cosmetic changes to Heather's appearance (though the Magical Girl one comes close), turning Heather into a blue-tinted goth.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • Valtiel can be seen dragging Heather's body to parts unknown after deaths in certain places.
    • If Heather attacks Claudia or takes too long to investigate her pendant, Heather births the god.
  • Honest Axe: The gold and silver pipes, though neither is particularly more useful that the steel pipe you already have.
  • Infernal Paradise: Claudia's driving purpose.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: You find a katana in an office building, and it's the most effective standard melee weapon in the game. It's justified because of the improvised nature of Heather's other weapons (the knife and pipe aren't designed for combat, the maul is slow and heavy).
  • Kill It with Fire: The God's main attack. You can also unlock a flamethrower on a subsequent playthrough.
  • Konami Code: Has a very, very silly effect.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    "Is this the end? Time to roll the credits."
    • And...
  • Living Memory: The Memory of Alessa boss fight.
  • Magic Feather/Mock Guffin: Vincent makes a big deal out of Heather getting the Seal of Metatron, thinking it's the key to killing "God." Turns out the seal does nothing, and Heather had the power to beat "God" all along.
  • Magical Girl: Parodied with Heather, who during a replay game can find a wand and, after invoking a Transformation Sequence, shoot Frickin' Laser Beams at the enemy. Kill enough enemies with it and you can unlock the game's UFO ending.
  • Meat Moss: Toxic meat moss. There is a bloody room with a mirror that will start to drain your health once it covers your reflection in blood. What's worse, you can't leave the room until it starts happening!
  • Mirror Boss: Heather faces off against Memory of Alessa in the amusement park, who is essentially an Evil Twin. Alessa uses your own weapons against you, which is especially painful when she pulls out your submachine gun.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Nearly all the puzzles in the game on hard riddle mode. Even some of the stock puzzles that are present regardless of difficulty are this. See Guide Dang It above.
  • More Dakka: One of the unlockable weapons is a submachine gun with unlimited ammo. Very useful for taking down the particularly annoying monsters.
  • Multiple Endings: A staple of the series:
    • The "Normal" Ending has Heather and Douglas survive. Also, this is the only ending you can get on your first run of the game.
    • The "Possessed" Ending: Heather kills Douglas while in a trance.
    • The "Revenge" Ending is the new name for the UFO Ending; Heather is seen talking to Harry (James is also there for some reason), and a bunch of UFOs blow up Silent Hill. Sadly, the only ending where Harry survives — which happens only because Heather gets home early.
  • Mythology Gag: If you have Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 save data on the same memory card, you can get a prompt to check a certain toilet. This results in a short cutscene where Heather turns directly to the camera and tells you off, which is a nod to James and the infamous disgusting toilet scene in Silent Hill 2. She also comments on how there's no mail, not even a letter from a dead wife, in her mailbox if you check it at her apartment, along with a few less jokey things. And there's her comment on the sturdiness of the fence on Brookhaven's roof, referring to how when James found it in the fog world it was rusty and he got shoved through by Pyramid Head.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Douglas + Konami Code.
  • Never Found the Body: Vincent's body mysteriously disappears after Claudia births God.
  • Nostalgia Level: The amusement park, as well as various sections of the church (which doubles as a sort of "Nowhere" Eldritch Location) that make reappearances from the first game; the hospital from the second game.
  • Not Even Human: Leonard, who appears as a giant aquatic monster. The fact that he's got a totally normal human voice just throws more fuel on the fire caused by Vincent's little "joke", if it was a joke.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have a Silent Hill 2 save Heather will come across a disgusting toilet from the second game that seems to have something in it and flat out refuse to take it, before asking who would.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The final boss battle features this in the soundtrack. As if the boss battle itself wasn't hard enough on its own, the soundtrack might cause a very annoying case of Sensory Overload.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: In the Borley Mansion:
    "That's Danny."
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: The subway train and the roller coaster.
  • Real Person Cameo: Norman Reedus appears on a cover of a book. He gets much more involved later on in Silent Hills.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Heather pulls herself together and doesn't roar or rampage, but the player certainly feels this way after Heather finds Harry's corpse. At the end of the game, though, she does give a few cathartic kicks to the face of the dead God.
    • Harry (and James) carry out one on the entire town in the UFO ending.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • A woman of the cult confesses to Heather and begs for forgiveness. Remaining silent makes you feel like you did something wrong, but forgiving the woman gives you a tremendous number of Dark Points (and is what most people do in order to gain the Bad ending). It's pointedly worded to be uncomfortable, and the true nature of the sadistic choice element isn't really obvious on a first playthrough; you're not choosing whether or not to forgive the confessor and soothe her fear and guilt — you're choosing whether to accept the responsibility of forgiving her or not, which Heather, as Saint Alessa, has the divine right to do.
    • The birthday call has a bit of this as well. See Suspicious Video Game Generosity below.
  • Schmuck Bait: That door with the red light above in the subway has the lock broken, and when you check it, it spawns 3 monsters behind you while the train approaches to kill you.
    • Stupidity Is the Only Option: However, it's the only way to advance the plot. And the dogs also count as Schmuck Bait as well — if you spend too much time dealing with the dogs on the tracks, enjoy your meeting with the oncoming train.
    • There is absolutely nothing stopping you from walking off the back of the train once it starts moving. Complete with cutscene! And for added fun, once you move forward to the next car, you can't turn back to the car you just left unless you want to watch said cutscene!
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Ammo and health pick-ups are far more scarce in this game then they were in the first two.note  In addition, the enemies are much tougher and have a wider variety of attack methods. At the very least, Heather can now block certain attacks to minimize damage — a very helpful thing to remember when facing Insane Cancers.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: You explore the freakiest and longest stage in the game, the hospital, on a quest to get the Seal of Metatron. When you try to use it on Claudia, she laughs at you because the seal is a useless trinket. All the undead nurses you killed were for nothing.
    • Not to mention that this means the hopes of Vincent and Leonard to usurp control of the cult from Claudia and/or stop the birth of God are baseless and doomed from the start. Well, until you figure out what's in Heather's necklace...
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: "Shut your stinking mouth, BITCH!"
  • Silliness Switch: If Heather is wearing the Princess Heart outfit while firing the Sexy Beam and Douglas is walking around in his underwear, then this switch is definitely ON.
  • Sinister Subway: It's pitch-black down there! It's also a direct reference to Jacob's Ladder.
  • Skirts and Ladders: Played for horror/Squick. When the hospital is changing to the Otherworld, Heather must climb a ladder, and Valtiel is behind it, endlessly turning a valve. He is also positioned in a way that would allow him to see straight up Heather's skirt. Given the plethora of other disturbing sexual symbolism, this was most likely intentional.
  • Smug Snake: Vincent, oh so very much. He delights in manipulating Heather and Douglas, making cruel jokes at their expense and rambling on madly for his own amusement. And it still manages to be a Player Punch when Claudia stabs him in the back, that charming bastard.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: The first game where enemies make a different sound than the "hurt" cry when killed.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Stanley, who turns Heather off to dolls afterward. Then again, you can just ignore his notes and keep Heather's innocence...
  • Stuffed into the Fridge/Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Harry. *sniff*
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Twisted into something truly sinister. At one point, you get a rather bizarre phone call about receiving a birthday gift. "Would you like to give pain or receive it? You can have whichever you hate the most." Turns out this translates to "you get more bullets if you're low on health, or more health packs if you're low on bullets".
    • Subverted in that you can easily miss it before fighting the boss that comes shortly after.
  • Tarot Motifs: One puzzle requires the use of five tarot cards — the Fool, the Hanged Man, the Moon, the High Priestess, and the Eye of Night (the last of which doesn't exist).
  • Too Awesome to Use: Your end game score will be reduced if you use any of the Extra weapons in a New Game+ (Beam Sabre, Gold and Silver Pipes, Flamethrower, Unlimited Machine Gun). Only a problem if you're trying for a perfect score. Once you finally do get that perfect score, though, the Beam Sabre and Flamethrower are both upgraded, giving them longer ranges and more damage.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Let's just say Cheryl Mason is all grown up and is ready to take some names.
  • The Unfought: Valtiel never directly interacts with Heather (unless she dies, anyway). He just watches. And turns that valve at the Otherworld hospital. And dangles a nurse atop an inferno in Nowhere, as seen in the page picture. Subverted in that he's not actually an enemy, but a protector and aid to Heather and/or the cult's god.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: See Shut Up, Hannibal!.
  • Troubled Child: The K. Gordon letter describes Alessa as behaving like this when she was in elementary school, most likely due to abuse.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Claudia. Of course, just how "well" her intentions are depends on who you ask. She says that she doesn't expect to be a part of Paradise, since she spilled too much blood to be worthy of it.
    • Further supported when you read her diary, lamenting all of the evil and suffering in the world, and her desire to help end it. She readily admits that what she did was horrible, but she did it for the greater good.
  • Wham Line: You spend the first two games guiltlessly slaughtering hundreds of monsters and suddenly Vincent drops this little gem on you:
    "Monsters? They looked like monsters to you?"
  • With My Dying Breath I Summon You: in the final confrontation against Claudia Wolf, Claudia takes the fetus that Heather rejected... and eats it herself, killing her in the process but summoning the demon god for the final battle.
  • You Are Number Six: The fate of Stanley. Worse is that he very faintly moans out "Heather..." if you go near him.
    "He's...underground now... His new name is number seven."
  • You Killed My Father: Heather to Claudia. Then again later with Claudia to Heather in a moment of deep irony.

"Is this the end? Time to roll the credits."