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Video Game / Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

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Yeah, this game's chilling. That didn't help.

"I love my daddy! *static* I love my daddy! *static* I love my daddy!"

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, a 2009 re-imagining of the original Silent Hill, keeps the underlying story the same: following an accident that leaves his car totaled, Harry Mason searches for his missing daughter, Cheryl, in the seemingly-abandoned town of Silent Hill. And that's more or less where the similarities end.

Numerous new elements were introduced to the series in Shattered Memories, including a much-touted psychological survey that tells players the game will "get in [their] head". This survey — as well as a player's actions throughout the game — will alter accessible areas, character appearances, and even characters' attitudes. Shattered Memories also alters nearly all the audio files and notes players find during the course of the game in subtle ways — while the context of these "flashes" will generally appear the same, the content will have subtle (but significant) alterations, even on repeated playthroughs.

As part of a new emphasis on psychological horror over survival horror, the combat system was removed, leaving a player with three options upon encountering a monster: run, find a flare (which wards off the monsters for a short time), or hide. The success of this new setup can vary, but numerous reviewers welcomed this "refreshing change" in the genre (as opposed to the jump-scares utilized in Doom³ or the "fire into hordes of zombies and hope you survive" direction Resident Evil had taken at the time).

One notable aspect about Shattered Memories is the console it was developed for. Rather than being developed with a PlayStation platform in mind like with the preceding games in the series, Shattered Memories was specifically developed for the Wii in order to take advantage of its motion controls. While the game did get ported to the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, it still remains one of two Silent Hill games to see a release on a Nintendo console, the other being Play Novel: Silent Hill, a Japan-exclusive Visual Novel adaptation of the first game for the Game Boy Advance.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The staple location in the series is back again, complete with spooky atmosphere and jump scares.
  • Actionized Sequel: Inverted, as there is no combat whatsoever, far less action, and more focus on story and atmosphere than either of the previous two games.
  • Actual Pacifist: Kind of invoked. Harry never makes any effort to fight the Raw Shocks, though in his case it's because he was explicitly told that he has no way to kill them, as opposed to being a moral thing. The enemies are dealt with by running, hiding, or temporarily warding them off with flares, and the closest thing to combat you see in the game is Harry defensively shoving them away.
  • An Aesop: Regardless of the ending, the point is made that parents are people too. They can be the sweetest people in the world, but that does not mean they haven't made any mistakes in their lives, and idealizing them can be harmful for a child's development in the long-run, as seen with Cheryl's mental state.
  • All Just a Dream: The entire game was just Cheryl's fragmenting fantasy of her dad surviving the car crash that, in reality, killed him years ago. In The Stinger, you even see the childhood mementos (if you picked up any) that various characters and locations came from.
  • Alternate Continuity: To the first game, though it could be a sequel to the Bad End's Dying Dream.
  • The All-Concealing "I": The first-person viewed therapy sessions are Cheryl's point of view, not Harry's.
  • Anti-Climax: Harry finally reaches the lighthouse, has a final conversation with Cybil, and enters the building, with you thinking you've entered the final climactic dungeon. You find a lobby area with two items to pick up, you walk through a door, and Harry walks into the ongoing therapy session that turns out to be for his adult daughter, revealing the entire game to be a fantasy she conjured to make her dad seem more heroic than he really was. It's rather sudden, but fitting.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Raw Shocks will not attack Harry in rooms in which he has to solve a puzzle.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Dr. Kaufmann begins the session with his patient by casually pouring himself a drink of hard liquor. He even has a row of liquor bottles blatantly on display behind his chair. Drinking alcohol during a session with a patient is highly unethical and would be grounds to immediately lose your license.
  • Art Shift: Deliberately invoked. In addition to everybody who showed up in previous Silent Hill titles looking slightly different and much better detailed in this version, appearances and mannerisms for Cybil, Michelle, and Dahlia will change depending on the player's actions.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Acceptance" - one of two possible end credits songs - can be considered a particularly dark and unusually low-key example.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The best ending. Cheryl finally accepts the brutal truth that she never really knew her father and what she's been remembering was a fantasy created by a traumatized child. On the other hand, it's implied that she will finally move on with her own life and mend her relationship with Dahlia.
    • Of the four video endings, "Love Lost", the one where Harry and Dahlia get a divorce, is probably the happiest since it's clear they both still love Cheryl regardless of their loss of love for each other, and it's the only ending that doesn't portray either of them in a particularly poor light.
  • Body Horror: The Raw Shocks all exhibit more or less of this, especially depending on how you play; Raw Shocks that are in transition between "states" are especially odd-looking.
  • Book Ends:
    • The home video that plays during the opening is also the last scene in the game before the credits. The only difference is that it's not rewound, so we see the last bit of the footage.
    • Also, the outfit that Harry wears in the home movie is worn during the climax.
  • But Thou Must!: A variation during the Kaufmann sessions in that he'll screw with you no matter how you answer. For instance, he'll ask you "Never cheated on a partner? Really?", and it's vague if the answer is "yes, that's true" or "no, I haven't." Also, during the session of "who's dead and who's sleeping", Kaufmann will tell you they were all either sleeping or dead. If you place all the photos on only one side, he simply laughs because you thought it was a trick question.
  • Control Room Puzzle: How one goes about lowering the drawbridge.
  • Cope by Pretending: The true nature of the game is revealed at the very end. The audience sees that the patient with Dr. Kaufmann is Cheryl, Harry's daughter, and not Harry himself. Harry has been Dead All Along and actually died in the car crash at the beginning of the game. The entire story has been a fantasy of Cheryl's, pretending that her father survived and went on a journey to find her. Whether or not Cheryl moves on from Harry's death or continues to hold onto the fantasy is up to the player's choices.
  • Dark World: It wouldn't be Silent Hill otherwise.
  • Dead All Along: Harry was just a manifestation of his daughter Cheryl's delusions, who didn't want to accept that he had died years ago.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Harry functions as the player's window into Cheryl's psyche.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: Anybody currently travelling with Harry will talk with him.
  • Diegetic Interface: The phone.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Utterly averted in the ending "Wicked and the Weak".
  • Downer Ending: It turns out that Harry died in a car wreck when Cheryl was a little girl. The Harry that the player has been controlling is actually a figment of an adult Cheryl's imagination created to help cope with his death. And then, depending on how you play the game, additional scenes may also reveal that the real Harry was an abusive drunk, a victim of spousal abuse, or an adulterer who slept with hookers.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Kaufmann sometimes acts like this.
  • Enfant Terrible:
    • Heavily implied in one scenario in the woods, where a boy who's been verbally abused by his father becomes a serial killer. It's every bit as unsettling as it sounds.
    • The girl (probably Cheryl) who constantly shoplifts from the mall and ends up defensively stabbing a security guard. She does appear to show remorse for it, however.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Otherworld in this SH is a frozen-over wasteland.
  • Evil Phone: Harry's cell phone sends him a lot of weird messages.
  • Eyeless Face: The Raw Shocks. They don't have any details on their faces in fact.
  • Expy: Dahlia and Cheryl are designed similarly to Heather from Silent Hill 3. And Cheryl's full name is Cheryl Heather Mason.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: With your cell phone camera.
  • Fission Mailed:
    • Being trapped in the car. If you drown, it just skips the cutscene between you and Kaufmann's next test.
    • In the last nightmare chase, Harry cannot outrun the Raw Shocks, which only stop being a threat in a cutscene where the ice cracks and they fall into the water; he is also incapable of swimming all the way to shore, but Cybil rescues him.
  • 555: Every number Harry can call except the one Easter egg with Konami Customer Service, seeing as it's part of their real world phone number.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Harry drops the framed photo of himself and Cheryl, the glass shatters right over his face.
    • John's lines. "You don't love me, you love the John in your head."
    • Many of the mementos contain foreshadowing on brilliant levels of subtlety. (For example, there's the Modern Prometheus memento, which is a Frankenstein's monster toy. In his last scene, Kaufmann says that what Cheryl thinks of Harry is a Frankenstein's monster made of memories.)
    • Voice messages near the start of the game are of various people, such as a woman complaining about her wedding video being recorded over and a father and son out hunting. About halfway through, messages start focusing on two distinct character groups, one of a family of three (father and mother who fight a lot and their daughter) and one of a mother and rebellious teenage daughter. This is indicative of how Harry is no longer around once Cheryl becomes a teen.
  • Framing Device: The game is presented as a series of therapy sessions, with Harry's point of view supposedly being told in flashback.
  • Guide Dang It!: To the point where guides don't necessarily help. While in theory the Multiple Endings are simple to get if you have an idea what to do, quite a few players (e.g. Roahm Mythrilnote ) have reported getting the "wrong" endings for what they were trying for, or that the game wasn't showing the correct indicators for the ending they were trying for but did get, suggesting some bugginess with the endings.
  • Happier Home Movie: The game's opening cutscene. Whether or not the trope is played straight or subverted depends on which ending you get.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Harry wears a Hawaiian shirt near the end of the game.
  • Holler Button: Early on, when Harry is desperately looking for Cheryl. He yells her name while outdoors, and anxiously whispers while indoors.
  • I Believe That You Believe It: Cybil to Harry towards the end, in regards to his identity.
  • Incest Subtext:
    • In this case, Parental Incest because of Cheryl's Electra complex. Cheryl is emotionally and sexually obsessed with Harry, to the point that in one of the three possible versions of her personal history, she even seduces her middle-aged homeroom teacher and later becomes a prostitute whose regular client uses her as an outlet for his own incestuous feelings toward his own daughter.
    • All of the other major female characters in Silent Hill also expressly state that they are attracted to men who remind them of their own fathers.
  • Inkblot Test: Kaufmann gives the player one, though he completely botches the point of them. Instead of showing you an image and asking what you see, he shows you several images and asks which ones are sexual or not. Then he reveals that every single one of the images is actually a symbol of death, imposing his interpretation of the images onto the player.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Kaufmann. Psychiatric therapists are not supposed to have alcohol affecting their judgement when treating a patient or have that much alcohol sitting around when it's possible that one or more patients have addiction issues.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: The snow piles that block you are at least two feet taller than you, but judging by their formation could definitely be climbed over. A bizarre example is when Cybil takes you to the cabin in the woods, there's a knee high snowbank in front and behind the car you got there in and it apparently formed in the fifteen seconds it took for the car to park and you to get out (if you invoke Gameplay and Story Segregation by moving as quickly as possible rather than trying to wait for her). Given that Silent Hill is more or less a malevolent Genius Loci...
    • Made even more ridiculous by the fact that the chase scenes has Harry leaping over fences and ledges that are taller than him.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: The Raw Shocks, the game's only proper enemy type which appears in the franchise's characteristic Otherworld, who can't be fought, turning every Otherworld sequence into a hectic chase with the monsters. This was presumably done in direct response to the criticisms of the combat-heavy Silent Hill: Homecoming.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cybil if she has the "aggressive" personality. She starts off giving Harry a hard time, but by the end will help him reach the lighthouse.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Harry picks up various keys and mementos throughout the game. Subverted with the mementos in that he's been dead from the beginning, and Cheryl already owns all those objects.
  • Living Memory: It's unclear whether Harry is one or everything we saw in the game was the result of Cheryl being an Unreliable Narrator.
  • Living Shadow: Often appears during the puzzle sections of the game.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: What the puzzle sections mostly consist of.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Most of the soundtrack is the exact same sad melody.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: If the player made choices that implied they were a virgin and/or committed to relationships, their psych profile at the end will include Dr. Kaufmann speculating that they are "lousy in bed."
  • Loving a Shadow: Harry turns out to be this. No matter what he was really like, the version presented in game is always Cheryl's idealization of him. This love is probably not romantic, but then again, "I LOVE MY DADDY.".
  • Madness Mantra: "I love my daddy. I love my daddy. I love my daddy. I LOVE MY DADDY."
  • Magical Mystery Doors: The second to last nightmare chase has a bunch of invisible walls and doors that Harry needs to navigate.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The apartment building in which Lisa lives is called Nightingale Apartments. Florence Nightingale was a well-known nurse who, among various other things, wrote "Notes on Nursing". There's also the "Florence Nightingale Effect", where a nurse develops feelings for a patient, even with little time to connect.
    • The title of the game could be this. After all, the (likely false) memories Cheryl has of her father get shattered in the psychiatrist's office.
    • The Raw Shocks, which change according to the player's behavior, reference the Rorschach ink-blot test, and the "raw shock" of sudden trauma without sufficient preparation and coping skills.
  • Mental Monster: As part of the psych profile system, the Raw Shocks will actively change their appearance throughout the game according to the player's choices and behavior. For example, if Harry cheats on his wife with the women he meets on his journey, the Raw Shocks will adopt uncanny, feminine sexual traits. If he drinks alcohol and takes drugs without restraint, the monsters will look disgustingly rotten and decayed. If he ignores all the distractions and powers through, they warp into living surrealist sculptures, indicating that they're losing their power to terrify him. Conversely, if he acts neglectful towards Cheryl, they become meanly gaunt and scrawny.
  • Mind Rape: What the game's psych profile system attempts to do to the player.
  • Mind Screw: Harry was dead all along and his adventure through Silent Hill only takes place in Cheryl's mind. Maybe.
  • Mooks, but no Bosses and No Final Boss for You
  • Mr. Exposition: Kaufmann, in the ending.
  • Multiple Endings: In Silent Hill tradition, there are several endings that paint a different light as to what sort of parent Harry was, as well as a silly ending.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the art room, the three paintings are of Harry from the original Silent Hill.
    • There is a sketchbook lying on the ground in the first area, which Harry will comment upon inspection that it isn't Cheryl's. It's a reference to the first game where Harry first tracks Cheryl with images from a sketchbook.
    • Of course the UFO ending is full of this, being a Silent Hill tradition.
    • Call the Toluca Lake Resort number on your cell phone and the pre-recorded message on the phone encourages you to make the hotel your "special place".
    • One introduction to Lisa has Harry encounter her near a crashed car, while Lisa is weeping with a bloody face reminiscent of the way she died in Silent Hill.
    • When Harry looks up Cheryl's high school records at Midwich, her full name turns out to be Cheryl Heather Mason.
  • New Game Plus: The only way to get the UFO ending.
  • No Antagonist: There's no Big Bad manipulating Harry, Cheryl, or Silent Hill as a whole for some nefarious end. The entire game is actually Dr. Kaufmann trying to rehabilitate Cheryl from her refusal to accept Harry's death. The Raw Shocks, the sole harmful force in the game, are really a metaphorical defense mechanism for Cheryl's denial.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: After meeting Lisa Garland and heading to her apartment, she'll change her clothes, and make such a request. You can defy her request and peek, which if done, will increase the "Sexual" points on the hidden psychological profile system the game uses to gauge your personality. Depending on how the profile is at that point, Lisa may be angry at you for defying such a simple request, or she may tease you about being unable to resist taking a look.
  • Non-Action Guy: At best, Harry can shove off monsters chasing him or pull down objects as he runs to trip them up. He has no way of actually hurting any of them and must run like hell.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The Raw Shocks aren't actually trying to harm Harry at all, they just cling to him in an attempt to keep him trapped in Cheryl's false memories. If they successfully down Harry, all they do is lovingly place their hands on him.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Despite the fact that there are no true monsters outside of the dark world, how dark and abandoned-looking everything is still creepy.
  • Papa Wolf: Harry is once again ready to go To Hell and Back to save his little girl.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The Midwich principal's PC is locked behind a password, but the principal left hints to the answers to security questions which, when all are answered correctly, reset the password, allowing you to use it to get in.
  • Personal Horror: Deliberately, as part of the psych profile system and regarding how Cheryl is the one undergoing therapy. The beginning of the game actually has a warning screen for this, saying that the game plays you as much as you play it.
  • The Reveal: Kaufmann's patient is actually Cheryl; Harry has been dead for years.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: The opening cinematic is a Happier Home Movie given this treatment.
  • Run or Die: Just before the first chase sequence, Harry is told he can't fight the monsters (Raw Shocks) that he sees in the Otherworld. This turns out to be true for all the chase sequences.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The Harry you're playing as turns out to be just a mental projection. But your actions in the game determine whether the real Harry (who died years ago) was a good father, an abusive alcoholic, a victim of spousal abuse, or a serial adulterer.
  • Schrödinger's Question: Kaufmann's therapy sessions. For some questions, whichever answer you choose is always the wrong one. When you color in a picture of a house, the color you choose will turn out to also be the color of your own home in the next cutscene. And the subjects you enter for your perfect school day will be the ones on the mural in the high school's courtyard.
  • Set Piece Puzzle: Generally to obtain a key. Most keys are found right next to the locked door, even.
  • Shaped Like Itself: In the Brady Games player's guide, its explanation on the monsters in the game on page 41 has this as its first line:
    "The strange creatures you see are creatures."
  • Snow Means Death: The whole game takes place during a terrible snowstorm.
  • Spooky Photographs: Your camera phone ends up with a lot of these depending, of course, on whether you take them. A few of them, however, are required. The first one of Cheryl on a swing is to show the player how to take photos, and later, finding three photos is the only way to end the Nightmare sequence.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • "My mother was a bitch." As spoken by a dog.
    • The town of Silent Hill, known for its crazy and psychotic settings, has a high school, Midwich High. Its mascot? The cuckoo.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • Graphic design elements for many of the game's in-universe flyers, posters, etc. tend to mimic what the average person would make; hence the familiar, badly-put-together, honest layouts with a liberal, liberal amount of Comic Sans.
    • The whole game looks like a VHS recording. Various scenes can blur with snow. Opening doors are very jittery, just like Playing and tape from Pause, Rewind, or Fast Forward.
  • Surreal Horror: The effect is somewhat more subtle than in previous games, however.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The game ends just after you enter it.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, given that you talk with a psychiatrist between bouts of gameplay. Quite humorously, he's Michael Kaufmann, who acts absolutely nothing like his previous incarnation.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Eventually the whole game, though for one specific example, what objectively happens when Dahlia replaces Michelle in the Balkan. Harry later tries to find out how Michelle perceived that situation, but his question gets interrupted.
  • Title Drop: From the official soundtrack is the song "When You're Gone":
    "I know there's something I've forgotten, like a time, a place, a shattered memory".
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Harry learns he doesn't exist and is just one of Cheryl's delusions.
  • Tomato Surprise: The therapist's appointments lead you to believe you are either in control of yourself or Harry, while the camera is always in the first person. After the twist, the camera turns to see who has been sitting in the chair - it's Cheryl, looking like a dark-haired version of her SH3 self.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: One of the creepiest sequences. Your driver and the windows also freeze solid, then something writes "Don't Struggle" "So Cold" on the windows.
  • Trick Twist: Reaching the final stage of the game to find out that you, Harry, have been Dead All Along, and that some (if not all) of the things you encountered while exploring Silent Hill were all experienced by Cheryl! Climax Studios earned its name with this one!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Lisa is a nurse who, after being in an accident, should have known better than to go home, take some pills from someone she just met, and fall asleep rather than have her injuries examined, as she could've had a concussion. Granted, it's Harry, or Cheryl imagining herself as Harry who gives Lisa said pills and watches her die, but it's still unusually careless on Lisa's part.
  • Video Game Remake: It's a "re-imagining" of SH1 with the same premise but is otherwise handled in a completely different fashion.
  • Walk It Off: There's no health meter. Instead, the more hits Harry takes from the monsters, the more he stumbles about. Given enough time, he can recover. Justified by the fact that the monsters are not actively hitting him; they are lowering his body temperature, basically making him freeze to death.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: The player (as Harry Mason) has the option at one point to either watch TV, or turn his gaze to peek at Lisa's reflection while she changes in the next room. The choice affects some minor dialogue and adds to Harry's psyche profile.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the first nightmare chase, Harry is picked up by Cybil. She drives him to a remote cabin in the woods, then gets out to find a phone because the road conditions are bad and vanishes. She leaves you in the car, goes into the cabin, and isn't seen again until after the bridge incident, which is about halfway through the game. She does call you directly after the next nightmare chase, but it's never explained where she went or why Harry couldn't find her.
  • Wham Line: Four times in one playthrough.
    • First, "I know you're not Harry Mason!"
    • One near the end - "I believe you think you're Harry Mason. Hell, I believe you are Harry Mason! But Harry Mason was killed in a car crash 18 years ago!"
    • One in the ending - "The term is 'complicated grief.' But it's simple, isn't it?"
    • And the last one - "Cheryl..."
  • Wham Shot: Harry walking into Dr. Kaufmann's office, and then the camera pans around and shows the first person perspective to have belonged to Cheryl.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?:
    • There's evidence putting this game's Silent Hill in one of several locations, and Team Climax hasn't said anything more specific than "New England".
    • A sign at the beginning of the game gives directions to Buffalo and Rochester, cities in western New York. It should maybe be mentioned that this sign is on the ground in a scrapyard.
    • Cheryl's student records show that Silent Hill's zip code is 45904 - Grand Rapids, Michigan. The diner is also adorned with Michigan license plates.


Video Example(s):


Silent Hill: Shattered Memorie

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, a 2009 re-imagining of Silent Hill, keeps the underlying story the same: following an accident that leaves his car totaled, Harry Mason searches for his missing daughter, Cheryl, in the seemingly-abandoned town of Silent Hill.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SurvivalHorror

Media sources: