Follow TV Tropes


Guide Dang It / Survival Horror

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Silent Hill 
The Silent Hill series is, shall we say, famous for the "logic" of its puzzles, especially on harder difficulties.
  • Silent Hill
    • In order to get one of the good endings, Kaufmann has to be present during the final battle. For him to appear, you have to meet him in the apartment complex (near the docks) before the Point of No Return. You're told nothing about the detour you have to take in order to get him to appear. Better yet, for the Golden Ending, both Kaufmann and Cybil have to be present. She will most likely not be there due to the plot. The only way to make her appear in the last stage is to get a plastic bottle from the Alchemilla Hospital and fill it with some sort of red liquid spilled on the far end of a room that's otherwise inconsequential, remember you have the bottle after traversing several locations and at least two bosses, and figure out you should spill the liquid over her during a boss battle, which is the only time you can use the bottle on her, and the last time she appears if you don't do so. Then there's the UFO ending, which requires a stone you find in yet another otherwise inconsequential location near the beginning of the game to be used in a group of arbitrary locations, some of which you visit to solve unrelated puzzles and thus possibly you're not really thinking about using the stone there. Oh, but you can't find the stone unless you're playing New Fear Mode, so if you stumbled upon the location in your first run, you'll only find a marginal amount of resources there and thus will be inclined to believe there's nothing else there. Have fun unlocking all endings without a guide.
  • Silent Hill 2:
    • The clogged garbage chute, which you have to drop a case of canned juice down to dislodge a critical puzzle item (see Solve the Soup Cans).
    • In order to determine which ending you get, the game keeps track of the player's behavior, such as how long you spend looking at certain items in your inventory or how you interact with an NPC character. The fact that the game does this is not hinted at anywhere on the first play-through.

      This is made worse by the fact that getting the best ending is more likely by doing some extremely non-intuitive things: allowing Maria to be attacked by monsters or otherwise take damage even though normally this is the exact opposite of what you want to do, avoiding reading the "wrong" memos found in the game, repeatedly examining certain inventory items that are never used to solve any puzzle, and leaving the room before a recording that gives plot-critical information finishes playing near the end of the game. All of these factors combined mean that many people get the worst ending on their first play-through.

      The game hints at the methods by a self-help magazine in the first building of the apartments, on the second floor. However, it is only available on the second play through and beyond and even if it is noticed, the player may be puzzled and brush it off as a Red Herring there only to add atmosphere. However, Tropes Are Not Bad, and this ending award system has its fans due to how unusual it is, and this was the first Silent Hill game where play-style influences the ending.
    • In the PS2 version only, getting the Dog Ending unlocks a minimap and a save-anywhere function. Don't remember this? That's because they're hidden behind convoluted button codes, which weren't found by anyone until 2018, 17 years after the game released.
  • Silent Hill 3:
    • Let's put it this way. When the game gives you the option to set puzzles to "Hard", it is not joking around.
    • This hideous puzzle, involving a keypad, and a poem about mutilating a face from which you are supposed to deduce the code. Even if you manage to figure out that the face corresponds to the keypad, you also need to figure out what parts of the face correspond to which buttons, and even then you end up with five numbers instead of the four needed. If you want to know exactly how much effort it asks of you to solve it, see here (search for "IV-b-3") for the solution. It doesn't help that a note from Stanley about the puzzle mentions "4 numbers would've been good enough, but he kept on going", even though the code is only four numbers. Even worse, it turns out the puzzle was made much, much harder due to a miscommunication during development. The writers assumed the first row of the keypad would be "7-8-9", but the artists assumed the first row would be "1-2-3", and then when someone tried to fix the puzzle to match the new keypad layout, they switched two of the numbers.
    • Even worse is the Crematorium puzzle on Hard, where you are required to know the habits of a bird most people have never heard of, and the hint also contains a false pointer. Like the keypad puzzle, this was made harder due to a developer error. The dev notes say you're supposed to rank the birds in order from Heaven to Hell once you've figured out which stanza matches which bird. This is never mentioned anywhere in game.
    • Hard Mode has the Shakespeare puzzle, which requires intimate knowledge of Shakespeare's plays to decipher a numeric code. Failing that, you had other subtle clues in most of them to decipher if you don't. The first two stanzas aren't too hard to match up, but the other three are trickier (it doesn't help that even the developer notes are vague about which stanzas match which play, or even if the "one stanza = one play" rule still applies.) Even if you figure that out, you still have to figure out that the last stanza doesn't refer to a play at all, but means that you need to multiply two of the numbers corresponding to the plays and remove another one.
    • The ending is determined by a hidden Karma Meter that tracks how many good or evil points you accumulate through the game. Like in Silent Hill 2, the player isn't aware this is happening, but which actions contribute to which meter are fairly understandable (taking a lot of damage makes it more likely you'll get the bad ending, for example). However, at one point the player speaks to a woman in a confession booth who begs for forgiveness. Forgiving her gives you a massive number of dark points even though it seems like it would be the morally correct choice. If you've been paying very close attention to the game's convoluted lore and match it with the context of the decision, you might be able to work out what the choice is actually about and why forgiving her is a bad idea: while priests of varying denominations do hear confessions, actually granting absolution is the domain of God. By forgiving the woman within a church's confessional, Heather is (unintentionally) accepting the mantle of God. This is not a good thing, since the God in question is the one that the Silent Hill cult worships.
    • A Guide Dang It on all difficulties: the scene where Heather holds Claudia at gunpoint. If you shoot her, the God will possess Heather, resulting in a Non Standard Game Over. The solution is to ingest the Aglaophotis pill inside the pendant she's been carrying since the beginning of the game. You only know of its existence by examining the pendant, and like in SH1, the in-game hints only vaguely reference its use. While you might at least be able to guess that shooting her isn't the right solution, given that Claudia is practically goading you into doing it, there's also a time limit to act during this section. Taking too long to figure out what to do will also result in the aforementioned Non Standard Game Over.
  • Silent Hill 4: The game has four endings, based on combinations of two factors that the game barely hints at. The first factor is what percentage of hauntings Henry exorcised in his apartment (threshold is <80% or 80%+). The second is how much damage Eileen takes while in Henry's care. As Eileen is damaged it is hinted that Walter Sullivan begins to possess her. At the end of the game, when you fight the Big Bad, Eileen will be possessed by Walter Sullivan and will walk to her death, unless the player kills the Big Bad and stops her. The faster she travels is directly correlated to how much damage she took over the course of the game (less damage = higher resistance to possession = slower speed). Note that even if Eileen took no damage throughout the course of the game, she can still die if you fail to save her in time.
    • The player has candles that can be used to remove the hauntings in Henry's apartment. These candles have a second use: the player can use them to heal Eileen from all of her wounds and this makes the final battle a little bit easier because her lack of injuries means she'll walk at the slowest pace. Nothing in the game ever indicates that this can be done, and players aren't likely to figure this out since they're candles meant for exorcism.
  • A frustrating inversion occurs with the joke UFO Endings, which in most Silent Hill games are intended as hidden bonuses for dedicated players and are therefore very hard to unlock, requiring the player to take a series of non-obvious actions at specific points in the game and are usually only accessible on a second playthrough. The exception to this is Silent Hill: Homecoming, where the UFO ending is no more difficult to get than any of the "real" endings is therefore extremely easy to acquire on your first time playing the game, leading to a nonsensical and unsatisfying Gainax Ending. Particularly bad if the player isn't a Silent Hill fan and isn't aware that the UFO ending is meant to be a joke.
  • In all Silent Hill games, you can stomp on enemies to finish them off for good, something you'll generally want to do since they can get back up again and keep attacking otherwise. In some games, however, this is counterintuitive.
    • Silent Hill: 0rigins keeps track of 3 types of kills: melee, ranged and unarmed, and each has its own related Accolade (basically an Achievement). If you're going for the melee or ranged Accolades, bear in mind that stomping an enemy to finish it off counts as an unarmed kill, something the game fails to tell you until you reach the end and wonder why you have such a massive number of unarmed kills compared to everything else. In order to actually register a melee or ranged kill, you have to have a weapon equipped at the time you deliver the finisher. Since the game uses Breakable Weapons, this is a lot harder than it sounds.
    • In Silent Hill: Downpour, doing this docks you points on the hidden Karma Meter and makes it more likely you'll get a bad ending, even though it's been standard practice for the previous seven games. At no point is it ever hinted that the game is going to judge you for doing this.

    Resident Evil 
  • The earlier entries in the franchise can be hell without a proper guide, considering the open-ended nature of each of the games, the complex puzzles that need to be solved, and the large amount of backtracking that's usually required for essential items. Though the games do provide hints on how to solve each individual puzzle, they're either too vague or there's a pretty good chance one might skip over it since there's often a lot of reading involved. This is especially frustrating if one would be attempting to complete a speedrun.
  • Resident Evil
    • The fountain that appears late in the game requires placing medals of a wolf and eagle into hollow slots in order to open up the staircase underneath the fountain. By this point, you'd have obtained the Last Book Vol.1 and Vol.2 but there is seemingly nothing of value to them. However, the medals are located inside these books, which requires examining them and rotating to the opening side of each book. No other puzzle in the game requires doing such. The 2002 remake at least gives an early hint at this since examining a book is required to get the sword key.
    • At one point in the game, Jill gets trapped in a hole and requires Barry to run off and find a rope. However, Barry takes a bit to return and there is a secret passageway to an unexplored area inside the hole that players will be tempted to enter rather than wait. You actually have to wait for Barry to return in order to get the good ending; entering the passageway will lead to the bad ending where Barry is dead.
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake):
    • Finding and destroying all fifteen of the Mr. Raccoon toys is quite a challenge without guidance. Though a select few are in plain sight, most of them are either hidden, exclusive to each campaign, or appear in one-shot areas that would require having to start all over if you missed it. The only hint you are given to their presence is the very faint rattling noise that they make.
    • Specific weapons work best on certain enemies, and vice-versa (e.g. the Lickers are hurt most by the acid rounds in Claire's grenade launcher). However, the game never tells you any of this.note 
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has a fire extinguisher that must be used early in the game, but it runs empty after use leading players to store it. However, it's best to keep it in the item box rather than the security deposit box on the Prison because the fire extinguisher can be refilled once you get to Antarctica. Doing so can help put the fire out that's blocking access to the magnum. The security deposit boxes aren't linked to the item boxes, so if you happen to store the fire extinguisher there instead, it becomes a Permanently Missable Content because you won't be able to return to the Prison after going to Antarctica. Because of the large gap in-between each segments, there's no exact hint that the fire extinguisher will be needed again. Though the fact that you can still hold on to the fire extinguisher after it's been used up could be a clue that it can be refilled (in this series, items with no further use normally either prompt you to discard them or automatically vanish from your inventory).
  • Resident Evil 5:
    • There are 30 BSAA emblems hidden throughout the game that you can shoot to unlock certain bonus features, but when we say hidden, we very much mean it. Especially noteworthy is the second-to-last emblem, which requires you to throw a grenade at one of the open crates due to being literally out-of-sight, with no outward hint it's there or why this particular open box is special (a number of boxes in the same level are used as monster closets).
    • The game does not tell you that you can perform specific melee attacks from the very start. Chapter 3-1 has a clipboard that introduces the player to such attacks, but only the basics of it. This is especially frustrating considering how useful melee would've been prior to this discovery: it can save ammo, the player and their partner can do very damaging combo attacks if they chain them together, and doing one after shooting a human enemy's knees and facing their back instantly kills them and totally prevents the enemy from mutating into more powerful enemies.
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard:
    • The final version of the "Beginning Hour" demo gives a purpose for the Dummy Finger item, as it's attached to a dummy hand, then used in conjunction with several clues to point out the location of murders that took place in the house. The clues themselves aren't too hard to decipher, but the processes for obtaining them can be very unintuitive and oblique. The final clue, in particular, is not only absurdly hard to discover through experimentation alone, but every walkthrough for the demo lists different prerequisites for making it appear!
    • Finding all Antique Coins and Mr. Everywhere bobbleheads in the large and cluttered Baker plantation is a difficult experience. While the Psychostimulants and unlockable X-ray glasses can make this easier, since they literally show where every item is in your location, there's still a few hidden in tight locations you may not think to look through.
  • Resident Evil: Outbreak:
    • Try figuring out how to get all the SP items without a guide, much less try figuring out that they're even there in the first place since it's entirely possible to complete the whole game many times over without ever realising that they're there. And the "set" of items spawned on the map is determined by a random variable and further confusing people, some can only be obtained on certain difficulties and by certain characters. Have fun. Your reward for all of this? Costumes and alternate character models that play identically to existing characters.
    • A less annoying example but still valid, is that in order to complete the Event Checklist for each scenario and therefore unlock an extra mode, you are required to kill yourself in a specific way on two separate occasions. One isn't so bad to figure out and might be accomplished by the player for laughs or just out of curiosity but the other requires the player to stand around for close to two minutes while nothing happens with no indication that anything even will happen there.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2:
    • Attempting to get the good ending is achieved by switching to Moira in the middle of a Quick Time Event at the end of Claire's episode 3 when the boss (Neil) lands on Claire and knocks the gun out of her hand, resulting it to slide to Moira. In the previous two episodes, the game often drilled it into the player that Moira would never use guns under any circumstances and it generally isn't possible to switch characters in the middle of said QTE's. Only by leaving the tutorial function on and waiting 3 seconds does the "Switch Character" command appear, hinting at the possibility... long after a player may have turned it off.
    • Slightly less irritating are the traps in the first factory area in the same episode arc. You'll often find writings on the wall which are meant to guide you, but aren't always clear enough. Examples include the spiked ceiling to put the eye back on after it breaks a taller statue holding a key then a room full of lasers where you have to follow a set of blue footprints made visible by Moira's flashlight then using the glass eye found there in the first trap area.

  • Alone in the Dark: Too many to count in the original trilogy, as well as The New Nightmare, but some examples:
    • Pregzt, the final boss. What in the game hints at burning him with the lamp? Nothing in the game, but the instruction manual has specific directions for what to do, only written backwards, i.e. eert eht fo retnec eht ta ti worht dna pmal eht thgiL. Guide Dang It, indeed, because most people ignore PC game instruction manuals outright, if they got one with the game at all. There's only a painting in the gallery that hints this.
    • In the third game, you find a shotgun... but there are no shotgun shells in the entire game. The only ammo is the gold coins that Jim "Lone Miner" Burris carries, which can only be obtained by hitting him with the whip.
  • Ao Oni: Version 5.2 has a puzzle that requires knowledge of counting using a Soroban. This is no trouble for Japanese players, but this isn't the case for western audiences (however, downloading the game provides you with a Readme that tells you to look up a way of deciphering the answer). This puzzle (along with several others) were removed for Version 6.
  • In The Dark Meadow, you have to find 10 gems in order to gain additional stats points that will help you beat the White Witch. Good luck trying to find them all without referring to the internet forums.
  • In Don't Be Afraid, you have to collect a series of items in order to get the Golden Ending. Problem is, nothing in the game indicates what said items are short of some very well-hidden tapes and clues left behind by Andy, which are equally hard to find. If you miss a single item, you automatically get the Downer Ending where the protagonist is horribly murdered by Franklin. Even worse, if you realize you missed an item after the game autosaves, you have to restart the whole game again.
  • Eternal Darkness:
    • Getting the Infinity +1 Sword and Infinity +1 Element of the magick system, as can be expected, both take some effort. The latter requires extensive backtracking through a ruin riddled with death traps, and the former is easy to screw up because it's a multi-step process involving multiple chapters and one devious use of the Reveal Invisible spell which isn't hinted at, at all.note 
    • Getting into the second floor hallway presents you with a huge stained-glass window which is enchanted with damaging magick, right down the hall from an odd indentation in the wallpaper; it can't help but draw attention to itself. But you have to find three other chapter pages before you can deal with the window, one of which is inside an otherwise-unremarkable chest of drawers the player might have forgotten existed, and the indented wall isn't explored until right before the endgame.
    • Every chapter concludes with Alex resuming her investigation of her ancestral home, with the caveat that some new spell or puzzle was used that would apply to the present. Roberto Bianchi's chapter really doesn't teach you anything new that would be helpful, and if you're impatient and race out of the Tome's hiding place to look around, you'll miss the sound of crumbling debris that marked a survey site to be examined.
  • Fatal Frame:
    • In general, completing the Ghost List to 100% is extremely difficult, especially on a first playthrough. Some ghosts don't appear, until you are in a specific place at a specific time and some disappear very fast, making it difficult to take a picture in time.
    • Fatal Frame has a moment in its beginning where a ghost suddenly appears on the floor below Mafuyu, with all the trademark signs of a spiritual appearance, and you'd think you need to take a picture of him for the Ghost List. That's not the case. Even if the player can turn around and take a picture of where the ghost is before he disappears, it doesn't count as an actual picture. So the player may spend hours looking up guides to see how this ghost is caught, until they learn that it isn't part of the Ghost List. Just the one instance of a ghost appearing for advancing the plot.
    • Several unintentional examples in the Fatal Frame I. One puzzle is focused around the children's game "Kagome-Kagome", which most Western players have never heard of (fortunately, it isn't too tough to solve by trial-and-error). Another came from the number combination locks on some doors. Even if you knew the combination, the lock had the numbers arranged counterclockwise with "zero" in the top position... and written in archaic kanji. Not a big problem for Japanese players, perhaps, but most Western players get totally stumped by what was intended as a very simple puzzle. Remakes of the game address this by replacing the kanji with numerals.
    • Good luck figuring out how to get the various endings in Fatal Frame II: Deep Crimson Butterfly New Game Plus without a guide. Contrary to the first game and the original second game, where your ending was determined by finishing the game on Nightmare or Fatal difficulty, the Wii remake altered the conditions entirely. The difficulty played on didn't matter anymore. It was based on viewing — or not viewing — completely optional scenes in Chapter 8 between Mio and Mayu, and how fast the player has defeated The Kusabi or even Sae.
    • Finding all the tiny dolls in the Fatal Frame IV is incredibly difficult without a guide handy or knowing where they are beforehand. Some are rather easy to find, like being very noticeable under a desk or upon entering a room. But then there are some stuck in plants or in a small space only visible if you stop in the middle of a staircase.
    • How to get any of the endings. Yuuri and Miu have two Endings each — with Ren having four — that are separated into Good or Bad Ending. Yuuri's Endings are still simple enough, since the only factor is during which phase the player uses Glance on Ouse. Miu's becomes a bit more complicated because hers is based on taking one step too far and starting a cutscene or waiting in time to take a picture of her mother, though the player does get a prompt to use the Camera Obscura in time. Ren has his endings separated into two pairs of Bad and Good, depending on which item the player picks before entering the final room in the House of Joining — the Photo of Bride (Ose) or the White Pigtail (Shiragiku) — and the difficulty then comes in getting the Good or Bad ending for those. Getting the Bad one for Shiragiku requires the player to let her drag Ren into the Black Box, meaning the player must not actually fight. The Good one for Ose is similar, as she is immediately visible and a player is wont to lift the camera immediately because she is the Big Bad of the game. However, lifting the camera means you locked yourself into the Bad Ending here, as you cannot lower the camera anymore. And getting the Good Ending requires the player to also approach her, unarmed.
  • In Friday the 13th: The Game, it is possible to kill Jason, but only if specific steps are taken. First and foremost, Tommy Jarvis must be summoned, which can only happen once the CB radio is used and after at least two players either escape or die. Aside from Tommy, at least two counselors must still be alive, one of them female. The female counselor must find Jason's shack and retrieve Pamela's sweater, but upon entering his shack, Jason will be alerted. Jason's mask must also be removed, which requires attacking him repeatedly: a very risky objective that can lead to counselors' death in the attempt. Once Jason's mask is off, the counselor with Pamela's sweater must stun him, after which the other counselors must attack him until he falls to his knees, after which Tommy must finish him off before the stun wears off. The sweater stun only works once per game, so this requires a great deal of coordination between the counselors to succeed.
  • Getting the Golden Apple in Hello Neighbor Alpha 4. It's not necessary to progress in the game (it just unlocks a cutscene), but the steps to get it are difficult to figure out and there's no in-game hint towards it. The steps are these:
    • Find a seed hidden in the Neighbor's house (in a very difficult-to-reach area),
    • Plant the seed in the dirt patch in the Neighbor's yard,
    • Use a watering can to water it and make it grow (you can fill the can up at the Neighbor's sink).
    • Wait four hours (in real time) for the tree to fully grow, at which point the Golden Apple will appear on a very high branch,
    • Somehow knock the apple to the ground, and...
    • Find a funnel hidden outside the Neighbor's property, and use the apple on that to trigger the cutscene.
  • In The Last of Us, clickers kill you in one hit, and the tutorial informs you that they use echolocation and can't see. You're not told that if any part of your body (other than your fist) touches any part of their body, they'll instantly kill you even if they're stunned or looking the other way. Good luck not touching an enemy you're supposed to beat to death with a brick.
    • There are also achievements/trophies for unlocking all of the shiv doors, which can be easy to miss in the gorgeous sprawling, semi-linear levels with little backtracking as well as collecting all of the comic books, Fireflies pendants, artifacts, and training manuals, some of which are behind the aforementioned shiv doors and those that aren't are in corners of rooms you may not notice you can get to, or past ledges that may not immediately seem traversable. All in all getting all 141 collectibles without consulting a guide is very difficult, especially on higher difficulties where resources are significantly scarcer and more precious.
  • Parasite Eve 2 is well-known for this. It has a lot of items and puzzles that can be easily missed.
    • A four-part riddle in Dryfield has one clue that has a very narrow window of availability that can only be examined before you trigger a boss fight in the next room. After that, it's gone. Another one of the clues can only be read if you do not turn on the lights in a cellar, for it is written in glow-in-the-dark ink.
    • A few factors can influence the score you get at the end of the game, unlocking some great bonus weapons and armor. The game doesn't tell you that these factors including saving items instead of using them, playing on higher difficulties, triggering certain events in the game.
    • An entirely optional and missable item in the very first area, the Akropolis Tower, allows you to enter an armory much later in the game.
    • Beating a certain boss in under three minutes (not easy to do, at least not on your first game) prevents an NPC's loyal pet dog from dying, which also affects the ending. Fail to save the dog, fail to get the best ending.
    • Failing to save another character in the game will also prevent you from getting the best ending.
  • In Rule of Rose many important plot-points are hidden out of the beaten path, and you can miss the introduction of one of the most important characters in the story if you don't know where to look in the first chapter. Also, you can't get the best ending unless you do the most unintuitive thing imaginable in the final boss fight: give the first and only firearm that you have to the Stray Dog. He will shoot himself dead.
  • Many of the conditions necessary to unlock secondary objectives in Siren are... unintuitive, at best, and the hints given if you're to replay a mission are typically pretty vague. It's only exacerbated by the fact that these objectives are unlocked for missions that will take place quite a bit later in the game, so it's not like one can make an educated guess on their first playthrough. Some examples include "wetting and freezing a towel so you can later create a distraction by laying it over a gap, putting a ceramic object on it, and waiting for the towel to melt," "knocking over a series of unobtrusive stone markers for no clear reason," and "telling a character you're escorting to hide in a specific place so that she'll find a key which you can't see yourself, because if the character you're controlling were to pick up the key instead of her, the secondary objective wouldn't make sense."
  • In Unturned, a guide is often necessary when attempting to figure out the in-game crafting system. Made all the more difficult due to a limited inventory.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: