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Well, the Halloween season is among us. Who’s ready to overdose on fun-size Snickers? I am. Also, who’s in the mood for some spooky game moments? Also, me.
I’m going to let you know something—I’m a wimp. I may love the Silent Hill series with all my heart, but that’s only if someone else is playing it, like a Let’s Play. That’s because Silent Hills 1-4 are some of the most atmospheric horror games that still top the charts even almost 20 years later. This makes it increasingly depressing that they probably won’t get an adequate HD Remaster. They did try to remaster them, but the HD Collection versions of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 just… weren’t their original selves. It’s like a friend you knew back then and had hours of fun, then they moved away for ten years, and came back like a totally different person. Still likable, but just not… the same. They are still playable on the PC, but good look getting your hands on a legitimate copy. I bought the PS2 versions from Ebay, but my PS2 is dying and I can’t afford another one right now. They won’t continue to make those forever.
But this article isn’t to commiserate my poor PS2. It’s to count down some truly horrifying moments from the games. So, let’s begin. Warning: Spoilers possible for all games, but they’re 20 years old, guys. Come on!
10. Robbie's looking at you. ('Silent Hill 4')
Henry Townshend’s not having a good week. He’s locked in his apartment by a malevolent spirit of a serial killer and he can only leave out of a hole in his bathroom wall into another dimension. Shit, I’ve had manic episodes like that. In his desperation, he also becomes kind of a creep. He spies through a hole in his wall to his neighbor’s apartment. It shows her bed and the iconic Robbie the Rabbit stuffed toy. Seems innocent enough, just lying on the pillows… well, innocent if you haven’t played Silent Hill 3 before this.
A little while after you complete Water Prison World, if you look through your front door peephole to the hallway outside (with the beautiful bloody handprint mural) will read (in blood, obviously): “BETTER CHECK ON YOUR NEIGHBOR SOON!” Aw, so considerate…I think? So, you follow suit. A quick little look into Eileen’s room and—the fucking rabbit is staring and pointing at you. Yeah, I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to buy a Robbie doll myself.
9. Sewers in Hell ('Silent Hill 1')
So, you’re looking for your daughter who’s been swept up in some cult ritual nonsense, the world keeps phasing in and out of demented hellscapes, and the roads out have become bottomless chasms. So, what’s a guy to do? Go into the Satanic sewers, of course! If you thought the outside Otherworld parts of Silent Hill were harrowing to navigate with all the corrupted monsters of the night, the sewer is even worse. The confined areas feel uncomfortable, especially when the Hanged Scratchers are swiping at Harry from above. It’s a simple enough route, just follow the map Point A to Point B, right? No, there have to be keys and the keys have to be located in bloody heaps next to a suspicious pool of bubbling sewage. You think you’re done when you secure the key, but it’s only just beginning, because this game loves to throw monsters at you (like many games) when you have new quest items. After this section of the game, you might need a stiff drink. A health drink, of course. What did you think I meant…?
8. Jar of Hearts ('Silent Hill: Downpour')
Silent Hill: Downpour disappointed me, but it was kind of expected considering Konami’s chokehold on the Silent Hill intellectual properties. Any of the games after the fourth installation strived to just make Silent Hill 2 again, but I had hopes for Downpour. As much as they tried, it just wasn’t scary on the level the previous games were. But I must applaud them on one part of the game—pity it wasn’t required for the main story. Downpour came with side-quests and one involved finding a dead inmate’s heart in a jar. Yeah, it seems corny, but this is the same game that considers finding a certain number of bird cages “a puzzle.” So, you go into a labyrinth to find this heart. Not expecting anything, you grab the heart and HOLY SHIT WHAT’S THAT NOISE?! A swarm of monsters spawn and you have to book it back out of there before you get turned into Murphy bacon. Kudos, dev team. Kudos.
7. Red Light Death Sprint ('Silent Hill 3')
A haunted house attraction in an already nightmare-flooded amusement park. Nope, nuh-uh, not happening. Except… you have to go through it to progress. Balls! Shouldn’t be that bad, not any worse than what Heather’s already experienced. The corny voice leads us from room to room, telling us about some dude murdering his family. But oh wait, he actually committed suicide! Spooooky. I’m pretty underwhelmed, or maybe just desensitized from the hellish nightmare hospital. Then you head through another room, expecting more B movie-inspired scares and then SUDDEN BLOODY DUMMY FROM THE CEILING. No music, no fanfare, just a dummy dangling from a rope. Then Heather notes that it is a real dead body (or real as Silent Hill’s machinations get). Okay, you got me. Good for you. I’ll just change my pants now. End of the haunted house, good, now we can get going to the church. NOPE. Fooled you! It’s a race against a red poison mist!
On Action Level Hard, in the haunted mansion, you get an extra event. When you get to the falling ceiling bit, you have to go into Ready stance in order to miss the falling spikes. But of course, you’re not psychic, so you’ll probably die the first time. Thanks, game! You effing troll. Also the red mist is faster, so you’ll have to take off the bulletproof vest. Ah, having to lower your health resistance in order to avoid death. Silent Hill doth loveth irony.
6. Triangle of Death ('Silent Hill 2')
James Sunderland is falling into all the movie cliché pitfalls it seems. Not running from a very suspect blood stain next to a creature that’s running away from the scene of the crime. Then running after the creature, because that’s smart. Then putting his hand in suspicious holes and down filthy toilets. You begin to think he almost wants to die. Suddenly, you’re trying to make it through the apartment halls without being sprayed by the armless mooks and hear a distant scream. James notes that it’s a noise to the north hall of apartments. So, onwards and upwards. But… the static’s getting awfully loud. Wait, what’s that glowing red—what the fuck is that?! It’s a red pyramid but it has a torso and legs of a man! It’s staring at us! How is it staring at us? Does it have eyes? It’s the fact that Pyramid Head’s introduction isn’t preceded by a cutscene or any sign posts saying “HEY SCARY THING OVER HERE. ISN’T IT SCARY?” He’s just… there. And he doesn’t say or do a thing. Makes you wonder what would happen if the bars weren’t there.
5. Secret admirers in Silent Hill? Eff that! ('Silent Hill 3')
Heather’s just arrived at Silent Hill, looking for some weirdo named Leonard. Where to go? The hospital, of course. Why? Don’t know, Silent Hill logic. So, after we battle our way through a demon nurse battalion, we start exploring. We come across some dolls and journals. At the first doll, Heather waxes nostalgic over having dolls like that. But then she reads the journal. You’d have to play the game yourself to get the full extent of the creepiness factor, but let’s just say that Stanley Coleman’s notes are very unwanted. Even better, if you’re playing Hard Riddle Mode, one of the locked doors to a hallway has a long, gruesome poem about how Stanley would like to cannibalize Heather’s face. We never see Stanley Coleman and Heather doesn’t know him, yet he knows us, even who Heather actually is. And after the hospital, we never hear of him again.
4. Bad time to ask for the rent? ('Silent Hill 2')
So James has just finished a weird clock door puzzle and we’re now on the other side of the bars where the Geometric Terror was standing moments before. Fantastic. Guess we should just focus on getting on with the game. Let’s go up the stairs, to the third floor, check some doors. Locked, locked, what’s that weird ambient noise? Whatever. Oh, this door’s open… oh, what in the actual fuck is going on?! Pyramid Head’s getting his rocks off with a pair of leggy mistresses. And by leggy mistresses, I mean the four-legged Freudian freaks that started haunting you after you got the flashlight. So what does James does? Hides in the closet and shoots at the Pyramid Head. You’ve got balls, Jimmy Boy. I’ll give you that. The purpose of this scene is far darker, if it could be any darker, because it reflects an aspect of James that he doesn’t want to admit to himself. I urge you to play the game for yourself to find out the whole twisted story and meaning behind these gruesome scenes.
3. Escape hallway of doom! ('Silent Hill 2')
After all the shit we go through in the hospital, it still wasn’t enough to kill off Maria? Oh, wait. I mean, oh good! We found Maria again! We can now open this supine refrigerator that James’s puny muscles couldn’t manage before. All so Maria can insult us some and give us a crappy Hot Topic ring? Now to go to the Lady of the Door and stick the rings on the fingers. Let’s just get out of here and go to the hotel. This is a long way down, isn’t it. It’s getting darker. I don’t like this. Where the hell am I now? A hallway? More hallways? Where are we going? WOAH WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?! Pyramid Head, chasing after us! Where did he get a spear? Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Move it, Maria! In the elevator! Come on, you useless cow! In the elevator! Oh, you’ve gotten yourself speared. It doesn’t help that Maria looks so much like James’s wife, so this is like losing her all over again.
2. Stairwell to Hell ('Silent Hill 2')
This is turning into a wedding proposal for Silent Hill 2, eh? But it's so full of the iconic moments that make this game a cut above the rest! What’s worse than walking into a room where a triangular gentlemen is doing a bit of the ole in-and-out with some leggy broads? Being trapped in an 8x10 stairwell with him with no way out. This is a timed event and shooting his metal pyramid… head makes the fight go by faster, depending on what action difficulty you have it on. You can just wait out the timer, but I don’t have the patience to dodge his Great Knife. I have things to do, Marias to bludgeon with planks. But the first time you’re in this room with him, it can be daunting. You have to get his patterns down to avoid being turned into a James panini and on Hard Mode, it can be quite the feat, because he is FAST.
1. But when will her reflection show... who Heather is inside? ('Silent Hill 3')
Chalk this one up for the most unnecessary, yet underwear-filling room of the series. In the nightmare version of Brookhaven Hospital, you’re on the third floor, just finished checking all the rooms. But you see another section of rooms, a storeroom. Well, in Silent Hill 2, you got goodies on a third floor storeroom, so might as well. You walk in, think you’ll get a health kit or something, but all there is is a giant mirror and a sink. Something about the room seems iffy, so you just want to leave immediately. You try to open the door, but… it’s locked. Even Heather’s flavor text is on point: “The door is locked. What the hell?!” So, you’re stuck in this room. Well, it’s just a mirror right? But this is Silent Hill…when is anything “just a” thing in Silent Hill? The sink starts to churn out a viscous bloody liquid all over the floor. And now Heather’s reflection is getting covered. You’ll have to move a little to find the secret to surviving the room, because yeah, not only is this some scary shit, but the black viscous liquid starts to pool and slowly kills Heather. Just move around and wait for your reflection to freeze, then you can leave. You can even check out the full scene here.
Well, that’s the end of my list, but rest assured, you won’t get the full effect of the horrors unless you play the games yourself. So get your hands on a copy, borrow it, or—ahem—“borrow them” from a “friend.” Thank you so much for reading and I hope you a safe, wonderful, and happy Halloween.