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Video Game / Silent Hill

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"The fear of blood tends to create fear for the flesh."

Silent Hill is a 1999 Survival Horror game published by Konami, and the first game of the Silent Hill franchise.

Single father Harry Mason and his young daughter Cheryl are driving to the resort town of Silent Hill for a holiday vacation. Suddenly, Harry swerves to avoid a girl standing in the road and crashes his car. When he regains consciousness, Harry realizes he has crashed on the outskirts of Silent Hill, and that Cheryl has left the car.

Stumbling into Silent Hill, Harry discovers a town devoid of human life and choked in a perpetual fog, whose roads are blocked off by massive fissures in the ground and patrolled by skinless monsters. On his desperate search for Cheryl, Harry meets several other lone strangers: 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.

And when an air-raid siren goes off in the distance, Silent Hill undergoes a dark and sinister transformation. What awaits Harry within this hellish otherworld?

That's honestly as much as we can say about the story of Silent Hill on a straightforward level, because it rarely explains itself to players. While the game can be summarized as one man's personal struggle to find his daughter, it also deals thematically with the man's role as a pawn in a cosmic battle between two powerful entities over the power of a god, arcane occult rituals, reincarnation, possession, drug addiction, and alternative realities. The player receives few explanations for anything that happens, and the story often glosses over (or completely ignores) key events as it focuses on creating an intense emotional journey for the player.

While its release coincided with the survival horror boom initiated by Resident Evil three years prior, Silent Hill offered a uniquely atmospheric, suspenseful and psychologically centered experience during a period when many releases in the genre relied on the jump scares and Zombie Apocalypse-style action of its spearhead title. The game's production team, most prominently its writer and director Keiichirō Toyama, later produced Sony's Siren series, which also relied on a more psychological storyline.

Konami released a remake/reimagining of this game in 2009 titled Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.

Silent Hill contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening:
    • According to Kaufmann, he simply dozed off in his office and woke up in this hellhole.
    • Inverted with Harry, who periodically passes out and reawakens back in the Otherworld Hospital. The only other human in there is Lisa, who cannot leave due to some unspoken inclination.
  • Agent Scully: Harry and Cybil seem to think Dahlia's words about the darkness covering the town are nothing but gibberish and a result of drug intake. Nevermind the fact that by the time they say it, they are in a foggy, snowy, desert, monster-infested town with all roads cut off and no means of contact with the outside. Furthermore, by the time they say it, Harry has seen the transition to the Otherworld twice and Cybil had just seen Cheryl walking in thin air. Of course, Harry the protagonist slowly begins to believe the happenings around them, to which Cybil responds: "You're tired."
  • All Just a Dream: At one point, Harry is so befuddled by the reality of Silent Hill that he considers the possibility that he may actually be resting at a hospital after a terrible car accident and is merely suffering through a nightmarish delusion. The worst non-canon ending confirms this; it turns out that the entire game was all just Harry's Dying Dream after a car accident.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Nowhere is mostly comprised of corridors reminiscent of the Alchemilla Hospital connecting rooms from other parts of the game, such as Midwich Elementary School's classrooms and the Green Lion Antique Store.
  • Always Over the Shoulder: The extra "Self View" option unlocked after beating the game once gives you this, although the camera in this alternate mode sits closer in and higher up than the typical orientation, with only the back of Harry's head in frame. Another option in the same menu lets you switch the camera defaults around and play the whole game this way.
  • Anachronism Stew: The plot is retroactively stated to have taken place in 1983note , yet the FANS Casual Fashion Store states its year of establishment as "1987" on the sign. Less concrete anachronisms can be drawn from real-life comparisons: The model of Jeep Wrangler that Harry's vehicle takes after wasn't produced until 1985, while the pistol Harry gets from Cybil is a Smith & Wesson Sigma, which wasn't produced until 1994.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Note the awesome "Study, Dammit!" poster in Store 8. It depicts a hippie (Stephen King) pointing a gun at the viewer.
  • Animated Outtakes: Only applies to the credits of the Bad+ ending and above, where the characters are shown screwing up and goofing around as if they were actors in a film.
  • Armed Altruism: In an act of coolness, Cybil offers Harry her gun.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Axe. It's a pretty good weapon and allows Harry to stay mobile unlike the Pipe which requires him to stand still when swinging, and the Emergency Hammer, which roots him to the spot even when readying the weapon. Unfortunately, said Emergency Hammer is a far better weapon with a great range, much more power behind the swings, and is found in the area just before the Axe is found. As a result, the Axe is more of an item for collection's sake than anything of real use.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Cybil offers Harry her gun, despite his being a complete stranger She also takes little persuasion to let the same civilian explore a mysterious hole before her, a police officer. "Must be on drugs," indeed.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Alessa has the power to control the Otherworld, which is somewhere worse than "ability to kill puppies by looking at them" on the good/bad power spectrum. Her goal in using this ability, though, is to keep herself from birthing the cult's god through self-destruction. The main character is the unwitting lackey of Alessa's mother, whose actions could easily bring about the end of the world.
  • Baphomet: Incubus, the final boss in the good endings, is patterned after Baphomet.
  • 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 Creepy-Crawlies: Alessa is a bug enthusiast, and her hobby is reflected in the monsters.
  • Big Red Button: The school's boiler room, and the hospital's power generator.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dahlia is established as an ally to Harry who is trying to help him stop the spread of the Otherworld. She is actually manipulating him into helping her get to Alessa in order to complete the cult’s ritual.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The canonical ending of the game, Harry escapes Silent Hill with his life and with a baby created from Alessa and Cheryl's re-merged souls, but the Cheryl he knew and raised is gone.
  • Bland-Name Product: There are several throughout Silent Hill, like Queen Burger, Convenience Store 8, and Benny's Diner. The bag of jellybeans containing the Key of Bethor is a knockoff of the Jelly Belly persuasion.
  • Booby Trap: The fridge in Nowhere. It wouldn't be so bad, except that it's the only one in the entire game and it happens without any warning. The game expects the player to be suspicous of the broken chains and ominous noises coming from inside, and therefore not open it.
  • Book Ends: The GOOD+ ending has Harry and Cybil fawn over 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.
  • Boss Corridor:
    • Before the fight with Floatstinger.
    • 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/mole-like Claw Finger, which wouldn’t have otherwise appeared until much later in the game. Their attacks are the same, though. The Invisible variant of the Grey Children in Nowhere are also still in the Japanese and PAL versions.
  • 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.
  • Camera Abuse: Killing the possessed Cybil treats you to a nasty cutscene of her vomiting blood onto the camera "lens" while in her death throes.
  • Cat Scare: Played straight until the cat leaves the scene, and is then 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. And then a nearby locker bursts open and a mutilated body falls out. Quite the scare for the uninitiated.
  • Catchphrase: 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."
  • Catapult Nightmare: Twice. "Was I dreaming?"
  • Ceiling Cling: Hanged Scratchers are known to camp out on the ceiling.
  • Chainsaw Good: One of the unlockable weapons for Next Fear mode. Requires gasoline to power, yet that two-stroke engine sounds electric...
  • 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: Not the actual box art, but PSM's notorious Silent Hill cover which depicts everyman Harry with a Heroic Build (to say the least...) and strongly implies that the game is a Resident Evil-like, what with Harry and Cybil finding themselves in the middle of a horde, guns drawn.
  • Creepy Cathedral: Harry first runs into Dahlia at the Balkan Church.
  • Creepy Child: While not as aggressive or malevolent as most examples of this trope, Alessa's visible manifestations of herself as a child are deeply disconcerting. The Grey Children, however...
  • Creepy Circus Music: The carousel boss.
  • Creepy Doll: Several eerie little dolls are attached to the wall grating in the school Otherworld, and later a few different dolls can be found in Alessa's bedroom.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Lisa, as the only place you ever find her is in the Otherworld.
    • Harry in the (non-canonical) worst (bad) ending.
  • Deadly Doctor: Dr. Kaufmann; also, a number of parasite-possessed mook doctors.
  • Developer's Foresight: For whatever reason, the dev team decided to avoid a particular Unintentionally Unwinnable moment. If you somehow make it to the final boss (who flies and is thus immune to melee) without any ammo, it will run a special script, rapidly take damage, and die anyways. Note that it won't do this if you have any ammo remaining, even if it's for a gun you might've missed such as the rifle.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Harry fights a manifestation of the cult's god in the final battle.
    • Despite the somber tone of the scene, it's hilariously lampshaded by Heather in the third game.
      Heather: It must not have been much of a god if it could have been killed by a human being...
  • 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 translates into his accuracy dropping like a rock beyond mid-range. His accuracy with the hunting rifle is significantly better, which would make sense if not for the fact that he fires it from the hip, and therefore isn't using the sights at all.
  • Drop the Hammer: Emergency Fire Hammer. Less a mallet, more like spike on a pole.
  • Dying Dream: The worst ending reveals the whole game to have been this, but it's not the canon ending.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In addition to being the only Silent Hill on the original PlayStation, there are several oddities in this game:
    • This is the only game where its infamous nurses act the way they do because of a living parasite.
      • Alongside nurses, there are also doctors, the only game in the series to have them.
    • 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).
  • Easter Egg: Amid the numerous knock-off logos scattered around the town, one cargo door has a Jack Daniels Old no. 7 label painted on it. It can be seen right next to the REDRUM Shout-Out, across the street from the Balkan Church and the Nautilus gas station. There's also a real Jim Beam label found elsewhere.
  • Eldritch Location: Entire pieces of road are torn up and left as an empty abyss leading to nowhere. Interiors warp and weave through impossible areas and places that make no sense. And that's not even getting into the Otherworld Harry will stumble into when the sirens go off. Some element of the Cult, and of the God they worship, has turned the town into an isolated hellscape that warps to their whims.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The opening of the game perfectly demonstrates everything that makes Silent Hill such a unique and terrifying brand of psychological horror. A foggy, unnerving town with nobody around that steadily devolves into a rusty, bloody nightmare with a massive Mind Screw taking place all at once. This happens in the first five minutes.
  • 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. Even the fridge is trying to kill you. And larval stalkers set off the radio, as well as have a mature form as an enemy. Yeah.
  • False Reassurance: If you save Kaufmann at the bar, he tells Harry that a military rescue squad is on its way to restore order to the town. It's a lie, because he may not know exactly how the town went to hell, but as it turns out, Kaufmann does know enough about what's going on to understand that no outside help is actually coming. It's why he prioritizes killing Dahlia and using the Aglaophotis to destroy her "God" rather than trying to escape the town.
  • 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, recruit cult members by getting them addicted, and keep them involved in their plans by taking advantage of their addiction.
  • 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.
    • Lisa can't even just die. She is apparently just forced to hide in fear of the Otherworld forever, trapped within. When Harry finds her, she's hiding under a desk. She's just a manifestation of the town, but all the same she can't even just die after the horrors she witnessed alive. As of Silent Hill 3, her soul isn't merely still trapped there, but is also suffering in perpetual torment.
  • Father's Quest: When Harry Mason goes to Silent Hill with his seven year old daughter Cheryl, they're separated after he wakes up from a car accident. He then spends the whole game literally going To Hell and Back to find her.
  • Final Boss: The Incubator (Alessa, fused with the cult's god) in the bad endings; the Incubus (the god itself, which Kaufmann expels from Alessa's body) in the good endings.
  • Fission Mailed: Beginning a new game involves an introductory scenario in which Harry is ambushed and killed by Grey Children/Claw Fingers, only to have him wake with a start in the diner.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Before you pull the trigger, know who you're shooting. And don't go blasting me by mistake, got it?"
    • Bit of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example, but in the opening, you can clearly see Harry picking Cheryl up off the ground. Why? This is answered only if you save Cybil: Cheryl is not his biological daughter. Rather, he found her, which is a highly important plot point.
    • It takes a second playthrough to realize it, but the fact that Dahlia seems to speak in mostly gibberish that only seems to vaguely lead Harry around foreshadows that she's just using you since you're following random nonsense that makes sense only really to her. Harry never truly makes any real sense of what Dahlia's saying, which makes it easier for her to lie to him.
  • Four Is Death: The fourth floor of the hospital that appears out of nowhere, leading Harry into the Otherworld.
    • Though he visits a number of different places, if you count only the absolute MAJOR locations of things happening (Midwich Elementary School, Alchemilla Hospital, the amusement park, "Nowhere"), Nowhere is the fourth and final major location of the game and where reality seems to be breaking down and features the most difficult puzzles, harder encounters, and the final boss.
  • 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".
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Cybil to Harry in the BAD+ ending.
  • 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."
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: In the Good Endings, Kaufmann comes to Harry's rescue and (painfully) exorcises the demon in Alessa's womb, ensuring Alessa herself will survive long enough to help everyone escape. It's not enough to redeem his douchebaggery towards and eventual murder of Lisa, who shows up to drag him off to Hell.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The noises the demon makes after being exorcised out of Alessa's body. Composer Akira Yamaoka has claimed the noise to be a distorted recording of a dentist's drill.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The vial of aglaophotis.
  • I Can't Reach It:
    • The key inside the birdcage. D'oh!
    • The school's rain gutter contains a key lying just out of reach. You'll need to divert the water.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Cybil being controlled by the Puppet Nurse parasite. Unless you've collected a key item (and are replaying the game, or have been reading a strategy guide), bullets are the only cure.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Lisa Garland tells Harry Mason that she's "scared and cold" in a futile attempt to convince Harry to stay with her. When he meets up with her again, she reveals her discovery that she's been Dead All Along, and begins bleeding from every pore as Harry watches in horror.
  • 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.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: One of Harry's first lines in the game after first deciding to explore the town.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Dr. Michael Kaufmann. He nearly shoots Harry in their first meeting, though this can be justified as rampant paranoia in a city gone mad. However, he doesn't seem entirely grateful should you manage to save him from a monster. Pursuing his questline further results in finding the vial of Agalaphotis and him VERY angrily snatching it from you before bitching you out. This conclusion is sealed in Nowhere when you learn he is in on the cult's plans as well.
  • Joke Ending: Starting the trend that would carry on throughout the rest of the series, this game has an ending where Harry is abducted by aliens.
  • Justified Save Point: Fish gotta swim, writers gotta write. Harry takes careful notes on his experiences; these notepads come in handy for Heather in Silent Hill 3.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Dahlia putting Alessa through the ritual to give birth to the cult's god resulted in Alessa being horribly burned. At the end of the game, Dahlia 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.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: One of the unlockable weapons for Next Fear mode. Sends you sliding forward on a cushion of air.
  • Key Under the Doormat: Harry will need to find a key hidden in a doghouse to enter K. Gordon's house.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The Grey Children are the distorted projections of Alessa's abusive classmates. When stabbing Harry, the 'noise' they utter is actually a recording of a child's laughter slowed down.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Cybil and Kaufmann aren't interested in tagging along with you. Lisa would like to come, but is compelled to stay where she is...
  • Lighthouse Point: Dahlia sends you here.
  • Logical Weakness: Harry's radio emits static to alert him that monsters are nearby. It works perfectly despite the unholy dimensional shenanigans afflicting the town...until Harry goes into the sewers where there's no signal.
  • Macabre Moth Motif: Floatstinger and Twinfeeler, straight out of Alessa's moth display.
  • Meaningful Name: Referencing the Brand X entry above, the Vestal Virgin Wiki entry has an 18th century painting of a vestal, done by one Angelica Kauffmann.
  • Mental Monster: The foggy town is infested with creatures ranging from spooky-yet-conceivable (e.g. Airscreamers, Groaners), to fantastical (e.g. Twinfeelers, Floatstingers), to outright nightmarish (Splithead, Incubus). These creatures represent the fears in the disturbed mind of Allesa Gillespie, a young girl whose tortured life at the hands of The Order drove her mad, and with the mysterious powers of the town, are brought to life.
  • Missing Child: You get to play a parent who is desperately searching a dangerous city for his missing daughter.
  • Moth Menace: Floatstinger is a giant moth boss with, as its name implies, a big stinger on its abdomen, which it uses to skewer the player. It can also spew poison. It seems to be one of the moths from Alessa's butterfly collection, which somehow came to life.
  • 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, but Harry has lost all will to live.
    • "GOOD Ending": Happens if you get the item and Cybil dies. Kaufmann betrays Dahlia and forces the demon out of Alessa; when the deity within Alessa is defeated, Alessa reappears in her final moments to hand an infant to Harry before dying. Harry then sprints out of Silent Hill, making it onto an open road before looking up into the night sky.
    • "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. This is the canonical ending of the game.
    • There is also a joke ending where Harry gets abducted by aliens.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: 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. Decidedly not the case with puzzles, as aside from one tricky music-based riddle, most are fairly straightforward and simple compared to the hair-pullers later games would feature.
    • Part of the reason for this too is the rather unintuitive nature of the health gauge, which shows Harry's portrait and a colored moving line effect behind it. Granted, while you can USUALLY tell if you're in danger of dying as it goes from a slow-moving green (healthy) to a fast-moving deep red (near death), it's not a particularly good indication otherwise of just how damaged Harry is, which can sometimes lead to either wasting supplies when Harry isn't as injured as the player thinks, or he may be even more damaged than the player thinks and dies to another hit simply cause the player couldn't easily gauge his health. Thankfully later games are a bit more intuitive with their health indicators.
  • 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".
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The technological limitations of the processing power of the original PlayStation actually make the atmosphere of the game creepier, thanks to the console only being able to process a certain number of details at the time. The fog and darkness that's present makes it that much harder to clearly see the environment around you, and what the monsters you run into actually have just enough details present so you can imagine how horrific they look after you've played the game.
  • 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.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: The wall of monitors inside the mall comes to life when Harry comes near.
  • Papa Wolf: Harry is willing to fight his way through hordes of monsters and insane cultists to find his daughter.
  • Police Are Useless: Cybil Bennet tries, and, to her credit, offers you a handgun that proves useful throughout the game, but ultimately she doesn't accomplish much (to be fair she's completely out of her depth in this situation). Whether you kill her or not is largely inconsequential to the plot or the safety of Harry and 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.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: The opening cutscene before the title screen and every cutscene that introduces a new character are all pre-rendered. The credits feature Animated Outtakes which are also pre-rendered.
  • 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.
  • Race Against the Clock: Dahlia warns that Harry has to stop the Mark of Samael from appearing all over town, or else reality will be irrecoverable. It's a lie; she's really trying to trick him into finding Alessa for her. The mark is actually the Seal of Metatron, meant to protect the town.
  • 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.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Once Cybil wakes after being struck unconscious from behind, her irises shine red, and she treats Harry far less hospitably.
  • Remixed Level: "Nowhere" is a return trip through Midwich, Achemilla, the shopping mall, and Dahlia's store.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Harry is diverted to the Post Office rooftop for the duel with Floatstinger.
  • Route Boss: The final boss depends on whether or not you save Kaufmann. If you don't, Alessa transforms into an angelic figure called "The Incubator" and Harry is forced to kill her, which leads to the Bad and Bad+ endings. If you did, then after Alessa transforms, Kaufmann will show up and expel the demon named "Incubus" from Alessa using a vial of Aglaophotis, and Harry must defeat that instead, which leads to the Good and Good+ endings.
  • Saved by the Church Bell: After Harry makes it through the Otherworld Midwich Elementary, Dahlia's ringing of the Balkan Church bell is what signals the return to the Fog World.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: The means of close-quarters crowd control provided to Harry. How he manages to stuff six shells into a double-barreled boxlock has yet to be explained.
  • School Setting Simulation: The game has a level set in an elementary school. This is also the first time Harry goes into the alternate dimension and faces the first boss.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: Alessa's attire whenever she appears is a blue dress that appears to be some sort of school uniform. She's never shown wearing anything else, other than as Cheryl Mason and in scenes where she's wrapped in bandages.
  • 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.
  • Snow Means Death: The snow falling from the sky during the middle of summer. Handwaved as ash from an underground coal fire in the movie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • According to Word of God, the plot and nightmare sequences are heavily inspired by Jacob's Ladder.
    • The streets in the first map are named after sci-fi, horror and crime writers - Bloch, Bachman, Ellroy, Bradbury, Finney, Matheson, and Levin. Midwich Elementary School, on the other hand, is named after the John Wyndham novel The Midwich Cuckoos.
    • Midwich Elementary's exterior and textures are modeled from — get thisKindergarten 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 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 UFOs in the UFO Ending are inspired by the UFO art on the original Mars Attacks! trading card series, and the shot of Harry being blasted with the alien ray is almost a direct copy of the "Burning Flesh" attack card.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: In the school, with the only clue being a poem about birds (and the correct solution produces no music because the keys you have to press are all broken). A Shout-Out puzzle involving a child's toy piano with pictures of birds on it appears in Shattered Memories.
  • 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.
  • This Is a Drill: One of the unlockable weapons for Next Fear mode. Requires gasoline to power, so drill, baby, drill!
  • Token Romance: Averted. Some feel that Cybil's appearance in the opening sequence after finishing with a Good ending suggests this, but there is no other indication whatsoever that this is the case. As Twin Perfect argues in their The REAL Silent Hill Experience videos, it's much more likely that she's simply looking at the baby going "Cute kid."
  • 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 else wants to kill the player).
  • Unwitting Pawn: Harry to Dahlia.
  • Vague Hit Points:
    • The pause menu shows a coloured background over Harry's mugshot depending on how damaged he is.
    • Character animations change based on remaining health.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The piano puzzle is this for the puzzles of this game and the series in general. Prior to the school, all puzzles are of the "take object X to place Y" variety, but the piano puzzle requires you to read a strange poem to figure out which keys to press. If you don't want to resort to a guide, you'll have to use your head (and it's difficult to brute-force too). This sets the precedent for the puzzles in the subsequent games, many of which end up as Moon Logic Puzzles

"Have you seen a little girl? Short, black hair..."


Video Example(s):


Silent Hill

Single father Harry Mason and his young daughter Cheryl are driving to the resort town of Silent Hill for a holiday vacation. Suddenly, Harry swerves to avoid a girl standing in the road and crashes his car. When he regains consciousness, Harry realizes he has crashed on the outskirts of Silent Hill, and that Cheryl has left the car.

Stumbling into Silent Hill, Harry discovers a town devoid of human life and choked in a perpetual fog, whose roads are blocked off by massive fissures in the ground and patrolled by skinless monsters. On his desperate search for Cheryl, Harry meets several other lone strangers: 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.

And when an air-raid siren goes off in the distance, Silent Hill undergoes a dark and sinister transformation. What awaits Harry within this hellish otherworld?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / SurvivalHorror

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