Whereas Silent Hill 2 featured a story divorced from Silent Hill 1, Silent Hill 3 — the third game in Konami's Silent Hill franchise — picks up seventeen years after the events of the first game (which "canonically" ended with Harry Mason escaping from Silent Hill).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 (loosely) preys on typical teenage fears such as unwanted pregnancy, 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 rape — and the fear of rape — to drive the story. That symbolism makes more sense when players discover Heather has become the unwilling carrier of the fetus of the cult's God.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!
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 in action, 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 "Nowhere"), 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.
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 one 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...
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 resembling male genitalia, to Slurpers, whose attack animation is unsettlingly reminiscent of some form of molestation. There's also lots of symbolism pertaining to the idea of how frightening it would be to have an obsessive stalker, and how Heather has a fear of this, ranging from her distrust of Douglas, to the disturbing, and often violent, "love letters" from Stanley Coleman, and Valtiel, who follows Heather throughout the game, always watching, and occasionally appearing 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.
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.
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 — either that, or Heather's just trying to talk her way out of giving in to Claudia's obsession.
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.
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! Possibly directed at Heather...
Guide Dang It: A big reason to be wary of choosing the Hard Puzzle mode.
The puzzle of "Who Killed Cock Robin?" It requires you to know a specific fact about a species of bird, a fact that most players have never even heard of.
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 are near impossible and will result in just guessing.
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.
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.
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.
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. On hard riddle mode, however, the final puzzle in the game is a truly bizarre puzzle featuring a riddle involving deciphering an almost incomprehensible cipher revolving around Roman numerals.note Knowing that Roman numerals are involved in the first place is the hardest part, because there is NOTHING to indicate as much unless you look closely at the tarot cards; after that all you really need to know is which letters are Roman numerals.
That thrice-damned Shakespeare riddle.
More Dakka: One of the unlockable weapons is a submachine gun with unlimited ammo. Very useful for taking down the particularly annoying monsters.
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.
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.
Nostalgia Level: The amusement park, as well as various sections of Nowhere from the first game; the hospital from the second.
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 itwasa joke.
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.
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 town in the UFO ending.
A woman of the Order 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.
Though you don't actively choose, the birthday call is essentially this along with a heaping helping of Mind Screw.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: Ammo and health pick-ups are far more scarce in this game then they were in the first two.note Actually, the quantity of pickups varies based on your performance. 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 Order 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...
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.
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!
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.
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 (created exclusively for this game as card XXII; tarot cards are traditionally numbered only from 0-XXI).
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.
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.
Weirdness Censor: Douglas seems oblivious to what's going on. When the mall changes, for example, he remains unaffected. One would think being attacked by monsters would shake him up a bit. Did he not encounter any of the creatures, or was he taking a nap? Maybe Vincent was right....
Not necessarily. He seems pretty shook up when Heather first runs into him, asking "Claudia did all that?!"
He may be referring to the piles of corpses with pipe-marks in their faces you've left in your wake.....
Wham Line: You spend the first two games guiltlessly slaughtering hundreds of monsters and suddenly Vincent drops this little gem on you: