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I love my daddy! *static* I love my daddy! *static* I love my daddy!
"Sucks to be Harry... that could almost be the title of this game." - Dena Natali
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, released in 2009, is a reimagining of Silent Hill 1. The underlying story remains the same: Harry Mason is searching for his daughter, Cheryl, in the seemingly-abandoned town of Silent Hill after a car accident strands him in the titular town.
The similarities between SH1 and Shattered Memories are primarily in terms of character names; many new elements were introduced in Shattered Memories, including a much-touted psychological survey which tells players the game will be "[getting] 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 be generally the same, the content will be subtly (but significantly) altered, which means no two playthroughs will be exactly the same.
As part of a new emphasis on "psychological" horror over "survival" horror, the combat system has been 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 Doom 3 or the "fire into hordes of zombies and hope you survive" direction Resident Evil has taken in recent years).
This game has a Shout Out page.
Tropes specific to this game:
- Abandoned Hospital: A staple of the series returns.
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Utterly averted in the ending "Wicked and the Weak".
- Actionized Sequel: Inverted, as there is no combat whatsoever, far less action, and more focus on story and atmosphere then 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.
- Adult Fear: A major focus of the game, so much so that the overtly occult elements of the plot are cut out entirely.
- All Just a Dream: Actually, it's all just a delusion by Cheryl. Or is it?
- Alternate Continuity: To the first game, though it could be a sequel to the Bad End's Dying Dream.
- The All-Concealing "I": Rare video game example. The first-person viewed therapy sessions are Cheryl's point of view, not Harry's.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The Raw Shocks will not attack Harry in rooms in which he has to solve a puzzle.
- Body Horror: The Raw Shocks all exhibit more or less of this, especially depending on how you play.
- 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 depending on which side has more photos. If you place all the photos on only one side, he simply laughs because you thought it was a trick question.
- Control Room Puzzle: Lowering the bridge.
- Dark World: It wouldn't be Silent Hill otherwise.
- Dead All Along: Harry
- 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
- 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 who constantly shoplifts from the mall and ends up defensively stabbing a security guard. Turns out to most likely be Cheryl. 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
- Expy: Dahlia and Cheryl are channeling Heather's character design. Never mind that 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.
- The last nightmare chase actually has two instances of these. First, no matter how hard you fight them off, the Raw Shocks WILL eventually wear you down. It looks like this is the end...until the ice breaks, and the Raw Shocks fall in the lake and drown. You then begin swimming towards the lighthouse, but no matter how fast you press the buttons, Harry WILL run out of energy and drown, only to be hauled onto the shore by Cybil.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Freud Was Right: In-Universe. Cheryl really loves her daddy.
- The Game Plays You: You're even warned about this at the beginning.
- Happier Home Movie: The game's opening cutscene. Whether or not the trope is played straight or subverted depends on which ending you get.
- I Believe That You Believe It: Cybil to Harry towards the end, in regards to his identity.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height 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...
- Invincible Minor Minion: The Raw Shocks, who are also the only enemy in the game.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cybil if she has the "aggressive" personality.
- 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: Harry
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- In a What Could Have Been example with a good dose of Squick, Harry and Cheryl were originally supposed to be named Humbert and Dolores.
- 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.
- 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 takes place in Cheryl's mind.
- Mooks but No Bosses and No Final Boss for You
- Mr. Exposition: Kaufmann, in the ending.
- Multiple Endings: A continued Silent Hill tradition.
- 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.
- When Harry looks up Cheryl's high school records at Midwich, her full name turns out to be Cheryl Heather Mason.
- New Game+: The only way to get the UFO ending.
- 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.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Despite the fact that there are no true monsters outside of the dark world, how dark and abandoned-looking everything is is still creepy.
- Off-Model: Deliberately invoked. Appearances and mannerisms for Cybil, Michelle, and Dahlia will change depending on the player's actions.
- Papa Wolf: Harry is once again ready to go To Hell and Back to save his little girl.
- Playing the Player: 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.
- Psychological Horror
- 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.
- Schrodinger's Gun: Is Harry "real" or not?
- Schrodinger's Question: Kaufmann's therapy sessions, such as the picture you color in will be what the house and couple in the next cutscene look like, 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."
- Shrug of God: Producer Tomm Hulett initially introduced the game as being set in an alternate continuity from the rest of the series; he later retracted his statement, instead saying that that might or might not be the case. As for the question of whether Harry's a Living Memory interacting with real people, or the whole adventure is inside Cheryl's mind, his answer is that whatever interpretation the player relates to better is the right one.
- 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.
- 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 Surprise: The therapist's appointments lead you to believe you are either in control of yourself or Harry, but 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.
- Trick Twist/Wham! Episode: 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, who, instead of having her injuries from a crash tended to, went home, took some pills, and went to sleep. Anyone who knows about concussions knows that sleeping alone without someone to monitor you isn't a very good idea. As a nurse, she especially should have known this. Then again, Cheryl might not have known this.
- 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.
- 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: A rare three-fer.
- First, "I know you're not Harry Mason!"
- One near the end - "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?"
- 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 at 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 zipcode is 45904 - Grand Rapids, Michigan. The diner is also adorned with Michigan license plates.