The Silent Hill Story Line Explained
RPG Jan 03, 2019
The Silent Hill franchise is unlike most horror game series. With the exception of the first Silent Hill, most games focus on exploring the inner psyche and tragic backstory of each main protagonist through absurd amounts of symbolism, extending even to the gruesome enemies littered throughout the eerie mist filled town. That’s the main reason most enemies are unique to their respective games, as they’re designed with the protagonist in mind. With this emphasis on encapsulated story lines focusing on developing and revealing the inner workings of the main protagonist, sometimes the overarching plot of the series gets a bit lost and shoved to the wayside. There are some subtle clues here in there about cult activity and demons in some of the more character focused entries like Silent Hill 2, but the games that focus most on the main overarching plot are Silent Hill, Silent Hill 3, and Silent Hill Origins. Shattered Memories also focuses on the main plot, but it’s more a re-imagining of the first game rather than a continuation of the story.
Silent Hill Origins
Chronologically the first game in the series, Silent Hill Origins has you play as Travis Grady, a truck driver. While running late for a delivery, he decides to take a shortcut through Silent Hill. While on his way, a figure darts in front of his car and he slams on his brakes. Getting out of the truck to investigate, he finds a small girl in a blue uniform. She runs off, and Travis follows, eventually coming across a burning old house. There’s a woman outside the house, but hearing the screams of a girl coming from inside, he barges into the burning building to save her. Finding the burned girl laying on top of a sacrificial marking, he carries her out of the house, protected by some sort of seal.
He wakes up the next day in Central Silent Hill, where the game really starts. Remembering the events of the prior night, Travis heads to the hospital hoping to check up on the girl, but according to Dr. Kaufmann, no new patients were admitted that night. After exploring the hospital, he comes to a room with a large mirror, revealing the hospital’s other world, as well as the brown haired girl. After being transported to the other world, Travis fights a convulsing monster, finds an object called the Flauros. According to notes, the Flauros is a mystical object possibly of divine origin, suspected to have the abilities to amplify thought and possibly the ability to trap demons. After encountering the girl again, sirens begin wailing and Travis passes out once more.
Waking up back in the normal hospital, he meets with Lisa Garland, a nurse at the hospital who tells him that the girl he was asking about, Alessa, had died in the fire. He doesn’t mention the monsters to her, as he thinks they were just a nightmare. Upon leaving the hospital, however, the town has become infested with these monsters. He cuts through the butches shop, has a brief encounter with a monster called The Butcher (this game’s Pyramid Head equivalent), and makes his way to Cedar Grove Sanitarium.
After Meeting with Dahlia Gillespie, Alessa’s mother, he doesn’t learn much about her daughter, but he finds out that his own mother, Helen Grady, was kept in the female isolation ward after she had tried to kill him when he was a child. After finding and defeating his mother’s otherworldly counterpart, and after picking up another triangular Flauros piece, he encounters Alessa again and passes out. Waking up with a theater ticket in hand, he ventures off to the Artaud Theater. He learns a few details at the theater, most importantly Alessa’s fear of the Caliban, a creature from the Shakespearean play, Tempest, which was being rehearsed at the time while Alessa visited the theater. After defeating the Caliban’s otherworldly counterpart, Travis finds another Flauros piece. Once back in the real world, clues lead Travis to investigate the Riverside Motel, a motel he and his father stayed at while visiting his mother when he was younger.
After finding and confronting the otherworld version of his father, he finds the final piece of the Flauros, and confronts Alessa when she appears again. He blacks out again at the sound of the sires, and wakes up in the basement hospital where he finds the central Flauros piece. After arranging the pieces of the Flauros, he is confronted by Dahlia, who accuses him of releasing Alessa. Alessa distorts the town into a burning nightmarish state, leaving Travis to find his way using a childlike hand drawn map marked simply with “go here’. Arriving at the Green Lion Antiques shop, he finds The Order performing another ritual on the burned body of Alessa, but is sedated before he can intervene. Awakening inside the Flauros, Travis confronts and defeats the demon within, which then leads to the multiple endings. The best ending appears to be the cannon ending, showing Alessa holding a baby girl in her arms, the baby being Cheryl Mason.
The first Silent Hill game follows Harry Mason, who is driving through the town of Silent Hill with his adopted daughter Cheryl. Seeing a figure dart across the road, he swerves the car to avoid it and crashes. When he comes to, Cheryl is missing, and he goes off to explore Silent Hill in hopes of finding her. After darting into a small alley, he is transported to the otherworld, swarmed by grey figures called Mumblers, and is ‘killed’. He awakes in a local cafe where he meets Cybil Bennet. She provides him with a hand gun, and he finds a few other useful items in the cafe. Following some other clues, he makes his way to the elementary school.
Making his way through the elementary school, he eventually makes his way down to the boiler room and encounters Split-Head, a huge snakelike creature. After defeating it, he has a brief encounter with Alessa Gillespe, before she disappears into thin air. After departing from the school, he hears church bells ringing. At the church, he meets Dahlia Gillespe, who gives him the Flauros, telling him to go to the hospital.
At the hospital, he meets Dr. Kaufmann, who may give him Aglaophotis (depending on certain conditions up to this point). Aglaophotis is a red liquid said to be able to dispel demonic powers and influence, which is learned later in the game. After working his way through the otherworld again, he runs into Dahlia, who explains that the “Mark of Samael”, the strange marking he’s been seeing around town, can not be completed. It would result in the town being plunged into darkness.
After some more exploring, Henry and Cybil find an altar in the old antiques shop, and Henry is suddenly transported back to the hospital. He meets with Lisa, who tells him how to get to the lake, but also tells him she feels like she’s not supposed to leave. After more exploring, Henry finds the resort area, and saved Dr. Kaufmann in Anne’s Bar (if you do the side quest properly, as it is essential for the good ending). Seeing the Mark of Samael appear at the top of the lighthouse, Henry makes his way there, but Cybil is attacked after they split up. Concerned, Henry goes into the amusement park to find Cybil is possessed by what appears to be some kind of parasite. While the player has the option to kill her, using the Aglaophotis to save her is another key step in getting the good ending. After this, Henry unwittingly uses the Flauros to trap Alessa, and has been manipulated by Dahlia this entire time. With Alessa’s power now out of control, the town is plunged into a nightmare state.
After more exploring, Harry finds Lisa again, who is bleeding from here eyes and mouth. He runs from her terrified, though sympathetic to her plight. He comes across her diary, which explains that Kaufmann provided her with the drugs she was addicted to in return for her looking after Alessa, and witnesses a flashback of Lisa and two of the doctors discussing Alessa’s hospitalization and the birth of god.
As it turns out, Dahlia, a priestess of the cult, had burned Alessa in an attempt to bring about the birth of the cult’s god. Alessa at the end of Origins split her soul, the god residing withing her womb, inside the body of Cheryl. Alessa had called Cheryl back to Silent Hill so that her full power could be restored. By inscribing several Seals of Metatron, or the aforementioned Mark of Samael, she would purge Silent Hill from the world, killing herself in the process. With the two halves of her soul back together, the god creature begins to manifest. The best ending has Kaufmann throw a vial of Aglaophotis at he god creature, known as the Incubator, revealing the demonic being residing inside it. After Henry kills the creature, he finds a child inside, that child being Heather Mason, protagonist of the third game.
Silent Hill 3
The story of Silent Hill 3 follows Heather Mason. The game begins with her running an errand for her father at the Central Station Shopping Center. While there, she falls asleep and has a dream about silent hill, wandering through the monster filled amusement park until being struck by a roller coaster. After waking up, she calls her father to let him know she is coming home. On the way out of the mall, she encounters Douglas Cortland, a detective hired by The Order to track her down. Thinking he is just a stalker, she slips out a window and loses him. While working her way through the mall looking for a way out, and finding strange monsters everywhere, she eventually encounters Claudia Wolf, a member of The Order. She tells Heather to remember her, and her true self. Heather then gets a severe migraine as Claudia leaves. After making her way through the mall and the otherworld, she once again encounters Douglas, who tells her he is a detective who was hired to find her. Leaving Douglas alone, Heather heads to the subway.
After traversing both the subway and an abandoned construction site, as well as exploring the otherworld some more in the process, she comes across Vincent Smith, another member of the order. After a brief discussion in which he reveals he had different ideas for the direction the cult should go, Heather leaves and makes her way home. Upon arriving home, she finds her father murdered, a trail of blood leading to the roof. There she confronts Claudia, who had ordered Henry to be killed as he thwarted their plains 17 years ago, and tells Heather to meet her in Silent Hill. After confronting Claudia, heather finds Douglas in her apartment. He helps her move Henry’s body to his room, where she pays her final respects. Despite Douglas urging her not to, Heather decides to go to Silent Hill to get revenge for her father’s murder. Douglas offers to drive her, giving her a map, a present from Vincent, as well as relaying the message to look for a man called Leonard Wolf. He also gives her a notebook belonging to her father, detailing the events that occurred over the past 17 years, explaining Heather’s past. Upon arriving in Silent Hill, they decide to split up, Douglas searching Leonard Wolf’s house and Heather searching the hospital.
At the hospital, Heather encounters other monsters, mostly deformed nurses, and also find Stanely Coleman, a patient with a strange obsession with her. She also discovers she is the reincarnation of Alessa Gillespe, as she begins having flashbacks of Alessa’s previous life. After being transported to the otherworld, she finds Leonard, who has become a monster. After defeating him, she gets the Seal of Metatron he was carrying. Upon returning to the motel, Heather finds Vincent waiting for her. He tells her that Douglas went to the church across the lake, and Claudia is likely there as well. To get there though, she has to go through the amusement park. Following Vincent’s directions, she enters the park, only to be once again transported to the otherworld.
While in the park, she finds Douglas, who can not come with her thanks to his broken leg, implied to be the result of his confrontation with Claudia earlier. Promising to come back for him, Heather makes her way to the carousel where she encounters her doppelganger, the Memory of Alessa. Wanting to stop the birth of god at all costs, the Memory of Alessa attacks. After defeating it, Heather heads to the chapel. After having a brief confrontation with Claudia before she runs off, Heather makes chase through the halls of the church. She runs into Vincent along the way, who tells her the Seal of Metatron may be able to act as a weapon against Claudia. Once reaching the inner sanctum, Claudia reveals the Seal of Metatron is just a useless trinket, before killing Vincent.
Nearly succumbing to rage, Heather composes herself before drinking the Aglaophotis in the pendant around her neck, causing her to vomit up the fetus of the god residing in her. Claudia stops her before Heather can crush the creature under her heel, and swallows it herself. Heather gives chase after Claudia falls through a hole. She finds Claudia dead, having given birth to the god. She kills the creature, and finally mourns her father’s death now that he has been avenged. As she goes to leave, the turns and looks back towards the god, which is where the different endings branch off from. In this case, the normal ending is the cannon ending, in which Heather meets up with Douglas in the amusement park, returning for him as promised. She asks that he call her Cheryl, the name her father originally gave her. It is considered the cannon ending as it is the only ending which Douglas survives, and there is mention of him exposing the cult in Silent Hill Homecoming.
While there are other mentions of The Order throughout the other games, these three entries are the ones that fully focus on the main story of Silent Hill. If you dig deep enough, there are plenty of other subtle clues and details relating to the individual characters as well as the town of Silent Hill itself, as well as plenty of fan theories as well. The beauty of the Silent Hill games is that the finer details of the plot are tucked away in symbolism and elements that can be highly subjective, so the only things truly set in stone are the bare minimum plot elements detailed above, along with a few snippets of details scattered throughout the other games in the series.
image cedit to konami