Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Silent Hill 4
aka: Silent Hill 4 The Room

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/image_81.png
Welcome to Hell.

"Don't go out!"
Walter Sullivan
Advertisement:

Henry Townshend lives in Room 302 of the South Ashfield Heights apartment complex. One day, he wakes up to discover that he has become trapped in his own apartment. He can't open any of the windows, his telephone doesn't work, nobody outside of the apartment can hear his cries for help, and multiple chains and locks have sealed off his door from the inside. A short message written on the door in what appears to be blood warns Henry not to go outside.

Henry spends 5 days trapped inside his apartment, plagued by recurring nightmares every time he sleeps. Just before he gives up all hope of escape, a hole appears in his bathroom wall. Henry decides that crawling inside the hole beats staying in the apartment, so he slips into the wall... and ends up transported to various locations around the town of Silent Hill. These locations, all infected by an evil power that seems to eat away at its surroundings, force Henry to defend himself from various monsters and ghouls that pursue him for unknown reasons. In each location Henry goes to, he always finds one other person trapped in there with him — and that person always dies.

Advertisement:

The same power haunting Silent Hill appears to have taken up stalking what few living humans Henry manages to meet in this strange otherworld before killing them in a ritualistic fashion. What purpose do these killings have, and how do they tie into Henry's attempts to escape Room 302?

The true horror of SH4 comes from the eponymous room itself. Room 302 initially serves as Henry's only safe haven — he can heal injuries and store items found during his excursions — but as his journey into madness deepens, his apartment becomes overtaken by the evil power haunting him in Silent Hill. The room eventually degenerates into something sentient and demonic that will actively hurt Henry unless he can exorcise the forces invading his apartment and defend his last bastion of safety and sanity.

A popular rumor about Silent Hill 4: The Room — the fourth game in Konami's Silent Hill franchise, released in 2004, and the first to receive a subtitle — says Konami originally conceived it as a wholly original Survival Horror game, but converted into a Silent Hill game during development. In actuality, Konami intended for it to serve as a spinoff/separate Gaiden Game from Team Silent called Room 302. After Konami nixed this plan, it incorporated elements of that game into SH4, which explains why it has several differences in gameplay to previous Silent Hill games (including an on-screen health bar, limited inventory space, and a number of first-person sections).

Advertisement:

SH4 has loose ties to previous Silent Hill games: Names and locations briefly mentioned in memos found during past games are fully realized in this game, and the father of James Sunderland (from Silent Hill 2) works as South Ashfield Heights' superintendent.

Not to be confused with The Roomnote .


Silent Hill 4: The Room contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandonware: The game is not available for any digital release, and Konami has suspiciously left it out of any HD compilations or rereleases, meaning the only legal way to obtain the game is from secondhand purchases.
    • No longer the case as of October 2nd 2020. The PC version has been released on GOG digital store.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The game features a variant. During the final battle, Eileen will make an Unflinching Walk towards the giant death machine in the middle of the room. Letting her die means either the "Eileen's Death" or "The 21 Sacraments" endings.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Walter in most endings, which is to be expected when the game takes care to show his transition from affection-starved orphan to a seeker of heaven and more in a hell of a religion to a homeless killer. Just in case his death doesn't hurt you in the feels by the point of his Last Grasp at Life, his child self dies as well. Narrowly averted in the "21 Sacraments" ending.
  • All Just a Dream: This is subverted to hell and back the first few times Henry returns to his room via the holes. Cynthia is tragically convinced that the strange circumstances she's in are of this trope, all the way up to when she dies in Henry's arms.
  • An Axe to Grind: If you get it, the rusty axe gives you a high-damage attack, reasonable range, good swing speed, and an impressive charge attack that an enemy can't hit you out of until he swings it down. It is arguably the best weapon in the game.
  • And I Must Scream: Joseph. And he does as the game begins. This may also apply to any of Walter's victims if their presence in the game and Silent Hill's nature are given weight.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A variation in that it's not the Player Character who gets extra costumes; Eileen and Cynthia have unlockable alternate costumes with Jiggle Physics.
  • Anyone Can Die: Due to the sacrifices still being made, it's a given you'll meet some characters who might not make it. This includes Cynthia, Jasper, Andrew, and Richard. Depending on the ending, Eileen, Frank and/or Henry himself may die as well.
  • Artistic License – Biology: A very minor case: the umbilical cord is technically Walter's flesh, not his mother's.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Walter Sullivan was mentioned in Silent Hill 2 in a newspaper clipping. Expanding and rewriting his role has resulted in some continuity problems when you compare him as described in the clipping to the way he's portrayed in this game. There's also the twin victims mentioned in the same clipping.
    • Joseph Schreiber wrote an article about the cult's orphanage in Silent Hill 3.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Richard Braintree doesn't engender a whole lot of sympathy in his brief appearances. He's cordial towards Eileen and genuinely concerned (or at least curious) about Henry's circumstances, so he's not all bad, but his jerkassery in general, especially toward children, works against him.
    • Andrew DeSalvo doesn't display any jerkass behavior towards Henry when they meet, but if you check out the in-game notes and supplementary material, you'll find out that he more than deserves what happens to him: Andrew was a guard at the already-horrific Water Prison who went out of his way to abuse the children there. He forced a young Walter to drink water with leeches in it, and possibly killed Walter's only friend.
    • Though the game is not quick to cast him as such, Jasper Gein can come off as one to the player. Jasper will hustle Henry out of chocolate milk for a Blood-Inscribed Spade; and after having a minor foodgasm over the beverage, he will unappreciatively drop the spade on the Wish House porch, for Henry to then bend over to pick up.
  • Back from the Dead: All victims of Walter Sullivan, including himself, return as ghosts or monsters. One of the apartment hauntings is even a projection of what Henry's ghost will look like if he gets the "21 Sacraments" Bad Ending.
  • Badass Longcoat: Adult Walter.
  • Batter Up!: Later in the game, an aluminum bat can be found as a slower, shorter, but more powerful replacement for the pipe. It probably won't see much use, though, as you can get the Rusty Axe shortly afterwards.
  • Bloody Handprint: You can see a whole bunch of them on the wall opposite to your apartment through the peephole. It starts out at 15 handprints, and more appear as people start dropping dead. There's even a faint hint of one after Eileen is attacked.
  • Breakable Weapons:
    • The golf clubs. They're reasonably powerful, but fragile, and they break after a certain number of uses.
    • The wine bottle is technically one as well, though it actually improves after breakage.
  • Breather Episode: Zig-zagged with the second visit to downtown South Ashfield. On one hand, you get a break from Walter chasing you around everywhere, but the ghosts appear more frequently and are a lot more aggressive in their pursuit of you and the other enemies appear in greater numbers. Then there's that weird upside down room where Tank Controls fully sets in.
  • Camera Screw: This game suffers what just might be the worst case of this in the entire franchise. Sometimes the camera follows Henry; sometimes it's positioned at awkward angles, and you have to figure out how to move in order to get it to focus on Henry again. Combined with the direction the controls take you being relative to the camera (departing from the usual Tank Controls of the earlier titles), it makes even the less tense moments of the game so needlessly frustrating.
  • Cast From Hit Points: Of a sort. The series staple Submachine Gun can be unlocked after a Nine Star game, but is equipped by Eileen, and it has unlimited ammo. Using it, however, will progressively damage her.
  • Central Theme: Isolation, particularly what it does to the human mind.
  • Charge Attack: Depending on the weapon, Henry can do the standard build up charge and strike, but he can also build charge over consecutive strikes. This means as he attacks, the charge will continue to build, allowing him to combo into a strong attack. Also, the time it takes to charge is proportional to the weight of the equipped weapon.
  • Charge Meter: Interestingly, this game puts a large focus on Henry charging his moves up, to the point that it's the only thing on the HUD aside from his health bar.
  • Companion Cube: The apartment itself is this to Walter. Deconstructed? Definitely.
  • Creepy Child: Young Walter, since he is a younger version of a highly dangerous serial killer and all.
  • Creepy Doll:
    • Turns out, taking dolls from serial killers is a very bad idea.
    • Robbie the Rabbit points an accusing finger at you if you peek into Eileen's room after she's beaten half to death by Walter.
    • There's also the dismembered, wheelchair-bound doll Henry has to fix during his second visit to the woods. After it's rebuilt, it suddenly comes to life and rolls itself away to reveal a staircase it was previously blocking. That said, its sudden dismantlement is highly anticlimactic, and makes its assembly feel infuriatingly redundant in hindsight.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Walter's messages are scrawled in blood.
  • Decoy Protagonist: At the beginning of the game, you are actually playing as Joseph Schreiber, gone mad from the room's influence, wandering through Henry's apartment and wondering where all the new items have come from.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Room 302 of the past.
  • Depth Deception: The Water Prison Basement Generator Room does this. On Henry's first time there, it leads to a locked door that's absurdly huge and is too big for Henry to open. The second time, however, the corridor leading to that very same door is now stretched to a certain length so that by the time Henry and Eileen make it to the other side, it's just the right size for them to go through. However, this time around, there are six Twin Victims blocking the way.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: After Eileen and Frank's unsuccessful attempt to open up Henry's apartment door, Frank casually mentions that this situation has happened before — and, more awkwardly, that he keeps a dried-up umbilical cord in his room. Frank quickly tells Eileen to disregard that latter fact afterward. The player shouldn't, though — it's actually a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The game was initially conceived as a gaiden game, but was made an official part of the series in the midst of development.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • All of the new-type victims.
    • Walter's adult form dies in every ending. Even the one where he wins. Though there is Dead All Along.
    • A pseudo-case in James Sunderland. His father, your superintendent, says he went to Silent Hill and never returned. This doesn't necessarily mean he's dead, though. James may have stayed in the town in the Rebirth Ending, and Dena Natali theorized that James may have chosen to cut off all ties to his past in the other endings. Also, as Roahm Mythril pointed out, the person in question had killed his wife, an action there's no going back from, so cutting all ties made a certain amount of sense.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Played with: Henry can "leave" the apartment through a strange portal in his bathroom to enter the current level, but leaving the level by one of the portals available causes Henry to wake up back in his bed as if the experience was merely a dream. To emphasize how much of a Mind Screw this is, Henry tries taking Eileen with him, but ends up alone back in his apartment. When he returns, Eileen complains that she couldn't see the hole, and that he just suddenly disappeared.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • Henry's the master of this trope, facing unimaginable horrors and gruesome murders with utter apathy on his face and in his voice. He needs some more iron in his diet.
    • It gets pretty hilarious at one point towards the end. Henry displays some genuine disgust after breaking down the wall to the secret room in his apartment, covering his nose and gagging uncomfortably at the smell. Once he sees the source of the odor — Walter's crucified, decaying body — he goes right back to being bored.
    • When Henry confronts Walter before the final battle, he slightly furrows his brow. Shit is about to get real!
  • Easter Egg: After using the Keys of Liberation, you can go back in the hole, walk aaalllllll the way back to Hospital World (backtracking a good 40% of the game), and find a Silver Bullet under Eileen's hospital bed.
  • Eldritch Location: The room. And, as revealed late in the game, everything else outside it, too.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Young Walter talks like this, and his influence upon Eileen causes her to adopt it if Henry lets her get attacked too much.
    "I'm scawed!"
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: After a mere five days of being trapped in his apartment, all Henry has in his fridge are a carton of chocolate milk and a bottle of wine.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Half the game — the second half — is one of these. On one hand, your escortee cannot be killed, and they can fight back if provided with a weapon. On the other hand, your escortee can still be hurt (the amount of damage taken affects the difficulty of the final battle relative to what ending you're hoping to obtain), and providing her with a weapon will often lead to suicidal attacks on things that probably would be best avoided. For what it's worth, she becomes appropriately more defensive if you decide not to arm her, and if you feel desperate enough to sacrifice one of the Holy Candles used to exorcise your room, you can heal her of all damage...for a time.
    • The game toys with this trope when you meet Cynthia, whose escort in the beginning is mercifully cut short when she suddenly has to visit the ladies' room.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: This is Walter's entire motivation for becoming a Serial Killer.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: According to the Crimson Tome, even "The Order" — a cult that has no problems with drug trafficking, murder, torturing and mutilating children, and half a dozen other Moral Event Horizons — considers the 21 Sacraments "heretical".
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: If Eileen's injuries get very grave, her mumblings are subtitled as random symbols.
  • 555: The phone numbers that Henry dials for plot advancement.
  • Flash Step: As the only ghosts that walk rather than float, Richard and Walter can warp across rooms.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Upon finishing the Subway World for the first time and finding Cynthia terminally wounded, an excerpt from the song Room of Angel starts playing and the lyrics are a major clue that the worlds you're in are from Walter Sullivan's twisted Hero Antagonist perspective, hence why the song is saying "I don't care enough for you to cry."
    • On your first venture into Apartment World, a cursory look at one of the rooms shows you that the other rooms appear larger than Henry's. One of Joseph's notes even mentions him sealing off the storage room. On entering Room 302 of the Past, one of the walls has a pickaxe embedded in it, with a note beside it saying, "Why must I destroy this wall?" Once Henry does break down the corresponding wall in his own room, he finds not only Walter's corpse but also the Keys of Liberation, which finally allow him to leave his room... and find himself back in Apartment World.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Eileen (unless you let her walk into the giant death machine during the final boss fight).
  • The Ghost: Joseph Schreiber. Literally. You finally get to talk to his spirit, embedded upside-down in the ceiling of Room 302 of the Past.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger:
    • The Twin Victim monsters. While you're out of their attack range, they're pointing at you.
    • Robbie the Rabbit. ''Tonight. You.''
    • As one of the room hauntings, a shadow of a young boy will appear in the closet, point at you, and cry.
    • Child Walter will also point out of the window in Richard's Building World room. Eileen and Henry live in that general direction.
  • Guns Are Useless: This trope applies to the gameplay. Each full reload of a gun takes up one of ten inventory slots, and even for the basic handgun, rounds are somewhat rare throughout the entire game. One particular ammo type, Silver Bullets, can help subdue ghosts — but they're as rare as ampoules. (There are only two pickups of both throughout the entire game, not counting the Easter Egg.) But even with normal rounds, guns are not entirely useless, as handgun rounds can penetrate enemies.
  • High-Voltage Death: Walter kills Richard Braintree by strapping him to an electric chair.
  • Hikikomori: Henry kinda counts, but not entirely of his own free will. His neighbors mention that he hardly leaves his room anyway, but since he's been locked in, they haven't seen him at all.
  • Hub Level: Room 302 serves as this. In the second half of the game, the apartment turns on you, so the various Worlds are connected via a spiral staircase.
  • Human Sacrifice: Walter is trying to complete a ritual called the 21 Sacraments to "purify" his "mother", which consists of killing 21 people based on certain characteristics about them. Including himself, halfway through.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The rusty axe. The damage of a golf club without the whole "breakable" drawback, and the charged attack does superb damage and knockback, while also granting a generous helping of invincibility frames. It may not be the strongest weapon — the taser downs regular enemies instantly and the Pickaxe of Despair is a monster truck on a stick — but it's the fastest in its weight class and it's lying around in the first third of the game for easy pickup. It's also got better range than the taser.
  • Inn Security: You will soon learn to dread that apartment.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Ghosts/Victims in The Room. They can damage Henry just by being near him.
  • Invulnerable Attack: Henry's full charge attacks give a massive amount of invincibility frames, to the point that any impracticality with charging is gone and spamming them is a safe way to go through the game.
  • Ironic Hell: Henry, a shut-in who barely talks, is supernaturally trapped in his apartment and must travel through tiny holes to get to open, outside areas.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Walter's last words when Henry defeats him.
  • Jump Scare: There are a few. It is Silent Hill, after all. Accordingly, they're not the scariest parts of the game. One includes a Call-Back to the previous game, where a spiked ceiling crashes down on top of the player. Thankfully, unlike the previous installment, it will never reach you.
  • Kill 'Em All: The "21 Sacraments" ending.
  • King Mook: Cynthia, Jasper, Andrew, and Richard. Unlike the other ghosts, they possess unique, more powerful attacks and are more resilient. Here's hoping you have at least 4 out of a mere 5 Swords of Obedience!
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Eileen survives Walter's murder attempt, and you eventually get the privilege of taking her with you all the way through your second run-through of all the previous levels.
  • Male Gaze: In the cutscenes; only apparent when certain characters are wearing their alternate costumes. See Ms. Fanservice.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Pickaxe of Despair is slow, but does a LOT of damage if it connects.
  • Mind Screw:
    • Victim 21.
    • Having Eileen in the room with her giant head. Neither of the characters bat an eye or even react to it, which makes it eerier. And the heavy breathing and moaning, not to mention her eyes following Henry, doesn't help, either.
    • Henry can (initially) see and hear the outside world just fine while trapped in his apartment. This can make a player assume he's just been locked in (with perhaps some small supernatural push to keep anyone from hearing his calls for help). The world outside his window grows more desolate as the game progresses; when he finds the key that unlocks the front door, he stumbles out and discovers that his apartment has been in the otherworld the entire time. He is still somehow able to see the normal world from inside the apartment, though.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
  • Multiple Endings: The game has four, and this marks the first Silent Hill game to lack a joke ending:
  • New Game+: Beating the game with a 10-star rank unlocks One-Weapon Mode. In this mode, the hallway leading to Cynthia on your first entry into Subway World is filled with all the weapons found in the game, and you can take only one with you, after which the rest will disappear. Achieving a 10-star rank here will let you play All Weapons mode: as with One-Weapon mode, all the weapons will be laid out on the Subway World floor, but you can pick them all up (or they will appear where they normally do throughout the game). As a bonus, Room 302 will give you free health drinks and handgun bullets every time you go back!
  • Oddball in the Series: A deliberate example on the developers part as they wanted the game to be as different from the first 3 entries as much as possible. As such it’s the only Silent Hill game in which the main character doesn't go to the titular town, the controls and inventory are noticeably different (you can only hold 10 items at a time now), there’s POV sections, features little to no boss battles or puzzles, and it lacks any sort of gag ending.
  • Orphanage of Fear: So much so, it almost makes you feel sorry for Walter. Almost. Alessa is even mentioned in one note. And Dahlia is hinted to have planted the idea of the 21 Sacraments in Walter's head.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: And annoying as hell.
  • Perma-Stubble: Both Henry and Walter are in dire need of a razor.
  • Pipe Pain: As par for the series' course, the first decent melee weapon you get is a broken length of pipe. This is also part of Walter's arsenal, along with a gun in his other hand.
  • Powerful Pick: The most damaging weapon in the game, but slow as molasses.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Walter. His Lack of Empathy is understandable when he believes Utopia Justifies the Means, and sees his victims merely as methods to reunite with "Mom."
  • Retcon: A rather strange one. Walter Sullivan, mentioned three times in Silent Hill 2, goes from a double-murderer to a full-blown Serial Killer with an occult motive; and whereas in the second game, his "delusion" of a "Red Devil" was meant to allude to and hint at the existence of Pyramid Head, here, it's a nickname for Jimmy Stone, a priest of the Order's Valtiel sect.
  • Sanity Slippage: Eileen's dialogue and actions tend to shift quite a bit depending on how "damaged" she is; she'll be more and more "in tune" with Walter Sullivan, and in the worst case, he'll have pretty much overshadowed her own consciousness entirely. This can be (temporarily) mitigated, however, with a Holy Candle.
  • Savage Setpiece: Sniffer Dogs, the first mook you encounter, will not be hostile if you don't run, walk too close to them or shoot them. They'll walk around, lie down and idly observe Henry, and suck on dead bodies, but they will not attack. Too bad the game never so much as hints this.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Looking through the peephole during the Building World scenario (or immediately afterward, if you don't return to your apartment before that scenario ends), you will see a message scrawled over the bloody handprints — "better check on your neighbor soon!" The next scenario is the one where Walter brutally attacks Eileen.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shovel Strike: In Building World, Henry can obtain a Spade that has good reach and does decent damage. It's a good weapon, but is soon outclassed by the Rusty Axe, which can also be found in Building World.
  • Sinister Subway: The one in this game includes a maze of half-opened and closed subway cars populated by unkillable ghosts who can phase between cars and damage you just by being near you. Fun times — doubly so when you're on the Escort Mission phase.
  • Speech Impediment: Jasper Gein's got a pretty bad stutter. Notably, after he's set on fire, he doesn't stutter. Maybe he was cold.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: The "21 Sacraments" ending is much more developed than the other three.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The game ramps up the health item pickups starting around Hospital World since Henry's apartment stops healing him once he starts escorting Eileen.
  • Toilet Horror: The entrance door to the Crapsack World of Silent Hill and the only way Henry Townshend can go out the room he's trapped, is in a big hole/portal made in his bathroom, which become more and more creepy during the game.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Richard's Revolver is the Hand Cannon of the game, but ammunition is scarce compared to your semi-auto. Taken Up to Eleven with the Silver Bullet rounds, best saved for the boss ghosts so that you can easily impale them with a Sword of Obedience.
  • Trapped on the Astral Plane: It becomes very apparent early on that Henry isn't in the real world, due to nobody being able to hear his cries for help and being sealed in his apartment by supernatural forces. Once he starts crawling through a runic hole inside his bathroom and traveling to dream versions of real world places, all bets are off. Returning from these dream worlds causes him to "wake up" back inside his apartment world, but it's like a Dream Within a Dream.
  • Trauma Inn: For the first half of the game, returning to Room 302 will restore your health over time. Once the hauntings begin — triggered by finding Eileen in Hospital World and signaled by the ceiling fan in the living area coming crashing down — that's no longer the case.
  • Undead Child:
    • The two faced owls/dolls/monsters have the faces of two of Walter's child victims.
    • The fact that Walter is dead makes Young Walter this.
  • The Unfought: The Greedy Worm.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: That one room in the hospital. Whether alone or with Eileen, Henry has absolutely nothing to say about a freakishly large and familiar-looking head whose eyes follow Henry around, not to mention the incessant moaning. Unlike anyone who's ever played the game and stumbled into that...
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: It becomes increasingly clear throughout the game that Walter is the main character and Henry is just an important co-star. The villain is not quite a Villain Protagonist because Henry is the character we actually control, but the plot revolves completely around the villain's plans and goals, and Henry just happened to get involved because he chose the wrong apartment.
  • Wall Master: Almost to Goddamned Bats-level on That One Escalator. There's also more in the Prison World depending on which cell you enter. And one "boss" fight involves 12 of these.
  • Wham Episode: That cute next-door neighbor you've been watching throughout the first half of the plot is brutally attacked. From then on, your room will no longer automatically heal you, and you can also be affected by hauntings (worse if you accepted Walter's creepy doll).
  • Wild Wilderness: A few levels, notably the graveyard and outside the train station, fit this trope well. They are secluded, you fight monsters, and no one notices. Of course, it's also in another realm of existence, but still.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: If you boil it down, the story is about the battle between someone desperate to leave his apartment against someone who will do anything to get in. They just happened to meet at the door.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Henry finally finds the keys to the padlocked front door in the coat pocket's of Walter's corpse — but when he goes through the door, he ends up back in the Otherworld.

"Guess I'll have to find a new place to live, huh?"
 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Silent Hill 4 The Room

Top

Cynthia Velasquez

Cynthia Velasquez's ghost manifests as a black-haired apparition out to get the player.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / StringyHairedGhostGirl

Media sources:

Main / StringyHairedGhostGirl

Report