In a series with some of the scariest things in gaming history, many consider Silent Hill 3 to be the most terrifying out of all of them. With very good reason.
As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.
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Level - Brookhaven Hospital
- Brookhaven is bad enough on its own, but it's especially unnerving if you played Silent Hill 2 before this and remember how creepy and disturbing it was with its severely cramped hallways and nurses popping up everywhere. And as one would expect, it's even WORSE here, especially since some of those shambling nurses are carrying freakin' guns this time around...
- On Hard Riddle mode, there's a poem that starts out talking about someone's beautiful eyes, and ends up being about gouging said person's eyes out... while continuing to proclaim his demented lust for said someone. It's a clue to unlocking one of the doors to the patient wards. Even worse, there's the possibility that Stanley wrote this poem for Heather. And it's heavily implied that it was written by the chief of the hospital. You know, the same one that locked a nurse in a padded cell for abusing one of the patients.
- Out of the many horrifying moments in Brookhaven Hospital is the bit in the basement where you find the Submachine Gun. As one poster on RPG.net put it:
"You get into the basement of the hospital, and this eerie creak, creak, creak, creeeeak, creeeeeeaaaaak, creeeee.... sound fills the room, slowing to a halt. Round the corner, and it's an overturned wheelchair, one wheel still spinning aimlessly in the air. Then you get closer, and when the camera turns, you see the seat is covered in blood, and it's smeared all down the hallway and around the corner. Worse yet is when you round the corner, and the trail leads into the elevator - which is open just the tiniest bit."
- The room where you pick up the SMG at the end is frightening, too. The blood trail leads down to it, and in it you find the SMG in front of an inoperable elevator. The walls and elevator doors are smeared with blood and bullet holes, and the SMG itself is empty. The way the bullet holes are arranged, it looks like someone (potentially the someone in the wheelchair) started firing at something in the elevator, before the weapon got knocked out of their hands. Who was this person? Where are they? What were they shooting at? Why were they carrying a submachine gun in a hospital? What kind of monster can just shrug off an entire clip from an SMG? True to tradition in this series, you never find out.
- What makes it worse is that eventually the wheel will stop spinning. Implying that whatever happened down there didn't happen long ago...
- All throughout the hospital you find these notes written by a guy named Stanley Coleman, and there's always a little doll next to them. The messages mainly consist of him saying he loves Heather, how he can't wait to meet her, asking her why she won't take the doll he left for her, and all sorts of other creepy, stalkerish stuff (with the occasional hint for a nearby puzzle).
- What's worse is when you backtrack to an area where you found one of these notes and it's not there anymore. Basically, he's following you around and watching your every move.
- What's even worse than that is that Stanley's actually dead. A phone call Heather receives wishes her a happy birthday and tells her that Stanley's new name is "7". Go to the basement where you have to solve the stretcher number puzzle and stand by the one with a 7 on it. That faint voice you just heard? That's Stanley whispering Heather's name.
- In one part of the hospital, you enter a room with a row of doors to padded cells. There's a memo on the wall telling you that a hospital chief locked a nurse inside a cell as punishment. A comment below says that the chief was a pervert and it would've been better if the nurse was fired. When you enter one of the padded cells you encounter a nurse monster. It's kinda creepy in making you wonder what the connection is between the monsters and the inhabitants of Silent Hill. And also creepy in what it implies about how the hospital was run.
- When climbing up a long red ladder in the Otherworld hospital you pass Valtiel turning his valve, a corpse of a nurse and a large picture of Lisa's smile on the wall.
- The infamous bloody mirror room. As soon as you enter, the door locks behind you. The main feature of the room is an enormous mirror that shows a reflection of the room covered in black tendrils. The tendrils slowly ooze into the sink and ooze out of the sink on the other side of the mirror, spreading until the entire room is covered in blood and Heather's reflection freezes in place. At this point, the door unlocks, and if you don't leave, the tendrils start oozing on to Heather, damaging her until she dies. The kicker? There aren't any items in this room, and you never have to enter it at all. It's just there to scare the hell out of you.
Level - Lakeside Amusement Park
The amusement park is notable for the fact that only its Otherworld is explored in gameplay, so technically it does belong in the Otherworld folder. However, it's in this folder for more ease in locating.
- Silent Hill 3 introduces Robbie the Rabbit, the Lakeside Amusement Park's mascot. This thing is for the most part completely immobile, but its aesthetic alone is more than enough to cause some long-term sleep apnea. Just the presence of Robbie suits in the park is jarring, and the fact that they're plentiful - and all dead - gives the locale a beautifully terrifying spice. In the right place at the right angle you can even see one or two Robbies under the grating of the amusement park. What on earth are they doing there?!
- The Borley Haunted Mansion, full stop. What makes the haunted mansion so bad is the deliberately cheesy horror announcer voice there. After the first room with the Lightning Reveal of the hanging corpse in the window, it's easy to figure the game's giving you a breather, since that "scare" is more funny than anything else. So you enter the next room, just looking around... and a corpse falls out of the ceiling with a loud BANG. Hello, heart attack. Even better, examining "Danny" gives you the bit of information that he is, in fact, a real corpse, and Heather asks what kind of sicko would do this. In the room after that, the ceiling is lined with spikes, and once you get far enough, it falls, stopping just before it hits Heather.* The narrator immediately apologizes: the mansion is old, and the mechanism is broken.
"It wasn't supposed to stop there, I assure you."
- Thought that spike ceiling was bad enough? It gets worse. At best, it services as a nasty jump-scare, so nothing major, right? Wrong. On Hard Mode, that spike ceiling WILL fall low enough to kill Heather. The only way to survive it is by readying your weapon since Heather's ready posture is slightly lower than standing still and walking. There's no hints whatsoever to this and it comes as a nasty shock on a replay if the lower difficulty didn't kill you.
- And then at the end, there's the red light chase. Heather is pursued through a series of maze-like corridors by a strange red light that will kill her outright once it engulfs her completely. You cannot pause the game at any moment. If you're unaware of the set of directions that you're supposed to follow in order to escape, you will be caught by surprise, as the walls will shift at the very moment you turn the corner you were headed for. The icing on the cake is a shrill, high-pitched noise in the background as you attempt to make your way to the exit.
- The carousel. It starts off creepy enough, with those weird, poison-breathing flesh horses you have to kill to progress. But when you do, the carousel starts sinking into the ground, and the horses turn into what I can only describe as ghost horses, while that creepy Otherworld music plays. And then the Memory of Alessa shows up... Not to mention the horses cry out in pain when you hit them, almost as if they were alive... And you can't get to the next part until they're all "dead" once you can't damage them anymore and they revert to being inanimate objects.
- In the lower portion of the Underground Waterway, on the way to the garbage room where the hairdryer is, Heather crosses a bridge over the sewer water. If you're not paying attention, or simply have the light off, you'll miss the Slurper resting at the bottom of the river. Once you grab the dryer and leave, though, it's gone! Where did it go...?
- Try crossing the bridge in the center of the lower Underground Waterway area without using the dryer...I dare you...
- The demo cinematic for Silent Hill 3 does a good job of showing sort of what you're in for - bits and pieces from the cutscenes, all set to "You're Not Here", which makes it quite an enjoyable opening... until, for a brief few seconds, you see an dead Heather on the ground while a humanoid monster picks up and spreads her legs apart. Knowing that it's Valtiel about to drag her dead body off to complete the rebirth of God only slightly lessens the impact.
- Valtiel. That he is completely non-aggressive arguably makes him worse, as that means he's always lurking nearby, watching and waiting, head twitching spasmodically in a way no human could possibly do. When Heather dies, he also sometimes appears to drag her dead body away.
- The ghost in the subway. That insane breathing he makes as he runs up behind you and shoves you onto the tracks. Then you only have a few seconds at best to get back onto the platform, before the killer subway car roars in to make you go splat. A newspaper clipping found nearby states that a man was decapitated after falling onto the tracks. Keep that in mind when you hear the breathing sound that ghost makes...
- Bleeding walls seems like a garden-variety scare, but how about blood streaming down the walls so excessively that it paints them red, in a dark corridor where your flashlight provides the only illumination, all while a rhythmic and unexplained thumping sound repeats in the background? Yeah, that'll do it.
- Some of the ambient noises can be pretty freakish.
- There's a spot in the underpass where if you head toward a particular dead end, a faraway-sounding voice yells, "Nooo!" It might momentarily stop your heart, and make you question if you really just heard that, or if it was just your imagination...
- Similarly, when you get on the roller coaster tracks in Heather's nightmare at the beginning of the game, you can hear a woman scream, followed by something growling and the sounds of tearing meat.
- At the construction site area of the game, the player comes to a flight of stairs that they must climb all the way to the top. The trip is pretty uneventful, with the area being nearly dead silent, but once the top is reached and the doorway is crossed, there is a chance that fast moderately-heavy footsteps can be heard, seemingly coming up from below. Nothing is there. (The scare itself manifests possibly due to Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack rather than due to level ambiance.)
- If you explore the back of the Otherworld Boutique Marguerite after getting the hanger, you'll hear a loud BANG from behind you that sounds like a shelf collapsing.
- There's a room in the Hilltop Center full of mannequin torsos. Only one of the mannequins actually has a head. When you move to the back of the room and you can't see the mannequin anymore, you'll hear someone scream. When you exit, the mannequin will be decapitated and smeared with blood.
- The Split Worm, which serves as the game's first boss. The thing looks like it could swallow Heather in one go, and you have to fight it in close quarters.
- You know it's bad if a scare is cut out of Silent Hill for being too disturbing. On the disk, there is a dummied out sound file of a baby crying. It was supposed to play in certain areas. It apparently was too much and they removed it. Here is a video of the sound file extracted from the PC version. Determine for yourself if Konami was right for cutting it from the game.
- The soundtrack, as usual for a Silent Hill game, is superbly creepy. Stand-out examples include "The Nightmare Mall", "Nightmare Office Building", and "Memory of Alessa" tunes.
- "Monsters? They look like monsters to you?" Vincent may have been kidding, but still, it really makes you wonder...
- Dad's Notebook, given after Harry's death and the Missionary boss battle. It gives a rundown of what happened from the first game since it essentially is a posthumous explanation of who Heather is and where she came from. What's so horrible about that, you ask? Read down later and you find Harry was unnerved by baby Heather because he couldn't be sure if it was his beloved Cheryl, Alessa herself, or some combination of the two. The confusion made him sad and angry, so much so he admits to putting his hands on her throat, ready to strangle the baby to death. Somewhat minor compared to the other examples on this page, but it is quite horrifying to think the protagonist from the first game wound up so confused and frustrated that he nearly killed his daughter because he wasn't sure who she even was...and he admits to how awful of a person he is for it.
- The hospital and amusement park are cakewalks compared to the church, especially when the level, already taken over from the get-go by the Otherworld, decides to get even freakier by getting taken over by the same horrors as the mirror room in the hospital.
- The walls of the hospital and church look as if they're covered in pulsing flesh, blood everywhere you look, disturbing sights like a small picture of a screaming mouth with blood coming from it...
- The final corridor leading up to the final confrontation with Claudia and Vincent has one of the most unnerving pieces of background music in the entire game, with a very ominously deep voice chanting endlessly.
- Not long before the final boss battle, Heather vomits up the fetus of the "god" which was developing inside her, and Claudia, who desperately wants the "god" to be born, eats the fetus, and births it herself.
- At the end of the game, in the chapel, there's a room with nothing but loads and loads of corpses, stuffed into bags and hastily hidden behind the walls. There's so many they're actually spilling out from the walls, and are strewn haphazardly all over the floor, as if it was too much trouble to hide them all. It's a sudden moment of shock that's in such stark contrast to the games usual subtle Mind Screw; you've been going the whole game in Nothing Is Scarier territory, and then you find that room.
- A more low-key scare in the chapel is Harry's room. There's no explanation for why there's an exact copy of his room there, as well as why it looks like he apparently got up out of his deathbed and streaked blood all over the floors and walls.
- There's this moment in the mall Otherworld where you enter a bathroom with a stall that is locked. When you knock, someone on the other side knocks back, prompting Heather to wonder if there's someone actually in there. When you turn around to leave, the stall door creaks open. It's empty. Nothing walked past you, it couldn't have gotten through a window without a good deal of fuss, but something knocked back. Also, the toilet and everything around it is covered in blood.
- One room in the Otherworld chapel has four Scrapers in it. Also, there is nothing in this room of value. Just Scrapers.
- Another room is dark and covered in strange pulsing material... if you wait a while it slowly begins to clear and then form strange moving patterns unseen anywhere else in the game. To make things worse, on a New Game+, the long hallway leading from the next train station to the sewers will not only have this appearance, but will actually drain your health as well!
- There's bodies covered in bloody sheets on stretchers found all throughout the Otherworlds. Sometimes body parts such as legs appear to be lying beside the stretchers. Also bloodied and disfigured bodies seem to be hanging in cages or on wires in some Otherworlds like in the Hilltop Center. In the stairwell of the Hilltop Center, Heather comments that one of the bodies seems like it was hanged but also has burn marks on it.
- The Otherworld mall, with its dark corners and unnerving music, is pretty scary. Down one particular path past a giant fan there's little to be found except a body on a gurney, that and some creepy female howling and moaning coming from behind the walls somewhere...
- After the Hilltop Center changes to the Otherworld, Heather passes what appears to be a crucified body with a picture of Lisa's smile covering its face and tubes of blood coming from its arms. In the next room there's a baby doll sitting on a wheelchair and a corpse hanging from the ceiling holding another baby doll. It's quite unnerving.
- The Final Boss is a very disturbing-looking creature: A deformed, giant monster resembling an adult Alessa, she has a desiccated torso and no lower legs. The face on her skin has a strange and very visible netting, she never opens her eyes, and she has bloodstained gloves on her hands. It's horrific to imagine that Heather was supposed to "give birth" to or otherwise transform into this.