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"Don't go out!!"
Silent Hill 4: The Room (no relation to The Room) is the fourth game in Konami's Silent Hill franchise (and the first to be given a subtitle). A popular rumor states it was originally conceived as a wholly original Survival Horror game, but was converted into a Silent Hill game during development. It's true origin was that the game was meant to be a spinoff/separate Gaiden Game from Team Silent called Room 302, which was decided against, but elements of it were incorporated into SH4, explaining why it has several differences in gameplay to previous Silent Hill games: it has an on-screen health bar, limited inventory space, and a number of first-person sections.
The main character is Henry Townshend, the resident of Room 302 in the South Ashfield Heights apartment complex. One day he wakes up and discovers that he has become trapped in his own apartment: he can't open any of the windows, his telephone is cut off, no-one outside of the apartment can hear his cries for help, and his door has been sealed off from inside by multiple chains and locks.
After five days of incarceration, a hole appears in Henry's bathroom wall. With no other choice, Henry crawls inside and finds himself teleported to various locations around the town of Silent Hill. These locations have been infected by an evil power, one that forces Henry to defend himself from a number of monsters and ghosts that pursue him.
Furthermore, that same evil power appears to be stalking what few living humans Henry manages to meet in this strange otherworld, and killing them in a ritualistic fashion. What purpose do these killings have, and will Harry be able to escape Room 302?
The real horror of SH4 comes via Room 302, Henry's apartment. Room 302 initially serves as your only safe haven — Henry can heal injuries and store items found during his excursions into Silent Hill — but as his journey into madness continues, his apartment begins to become overtaken by the evil power haunting him in Silent Hill. The titular room eventually evolves 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.
SH4 is loosely tied to previous Silent Hill games; names and locations that got a brief mention in memos found during past games are fully fleshed out in this game, and South Ashfield Heights' superintendent is the father of James Sunderland (from Silent Hill 2).
Tropes specific to this game:
- Advancing Wall of Doom: 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 nets you either the "Eileen's Death" or the "The 21 Sacraments" ending.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Silent Hill Smile Support Society.
- All Just a Dream: Subverted to hell and back the first few times Henry returns to his room via the holes.
- An Axe to Grind: There is a rusty axe available that, between nice damage, reasonable range and good swing speed, plus an impressive charge attack, is arguably the best weapon in the game.
- And I Must Scream: Joseph. And he does as the game begins.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Eileen and Cynthia have unlockable alternate costumes.
- Anti-Villain: It's kind of hard not to feel bad for Walter when you realize just how much his life sucks.
- 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 is the author of 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.
- While he doesn't display any jerkass behaviour towards Henry when they meet, you can find out in in-game notes and supplementary material that Andrew DeSalvo is a far worse person than Richard, and more deserving of what happens to him: he was a guard at the already horrific Water Prison who went out of his way to abuse the children there, forcing young Walter to drink water with leeches in it, and possibly killing his only friend.
- Back From the Dead: All victims of Walter Sullivan, including himself, return as ghosts or monsters.
- Batter Up: Later in the game, an aluminum bat can be found as a slower, shorter but more powerful replacement for the pipe.
- Bloody Handprint: You can see a whole bunch of them on the wall opposite to your apartment through the peephole. More appear as people start dropping dead.
- Boss Arena Idiocy: Neither Walter nor the "god" he summons can be harmed by anything Henry has picked up so far, so the game "helpfully" provides the spears that do damage against said god.
- Companion Cube: The apartment itself is this to Walter. Deconstructed Trope? Definitely.
- Creepy Child: Young Walter.
- 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 decide to peek on Eileen when she's not in her room.
- There's also the dismembered, wheelchair-bound doll Henry has to fix during his second visit to the woods.
- 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.
- Did I 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.
- 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.
- Eldritch Location: The room.
- 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.
- Escort Mission:
- Half of the game. On the plus side, your escortee cannot be killed, and is capable of fighting back if provided with a weapon. On the negative side, your escortee can still be hurt (and the amount of damage taken affects the difficulty of the final battle), and providing her with a weapon will often lead to suicidal attacks on things that probably would be best avoided.
- Played with for 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: In fact, it's Walter's entire motivation for being a Serial Killer.
- Executive Meddling: See Dolled-Up Installment, as well as Konami's removal of Team Silent shortly after the game's release.
- 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.
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: Eileen (unless you let her walk into the giant death machine).
- The Ghost: Joseph Schreiber. Literally. You finally get to talk to his spirit, embedded upside-down in the ceiling of the apartment of the past.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Robbie the Rabbit. Tonight. You.
- A shadow of a young boy will appear in the closet, point at you and cry.
- Guns Are Useless: In a gameplay sense. Each full reload takes up one of ten inventory slots, and even for the basic handgun, rounds are somewhat rare throughout the entire game.
- Hikikomori: Henry, but not entirely willingly.
- Hub Level: Room 302. In the second half of the game, after the apartment turns on you, 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.
- Invincible Minor Minion: Ghosts/Victims in The Room. They can damage Henry just by being near him.
- I Want My Mommy: Walter's last words when Henry defeats him.
- Jump Scare: There are a few.
- King Mooks: Cynthia, Jasper, Andrew, and Richard. Unlike the other ghosts, they possess long-range attacks and are more resilient.
- 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.
- Ms. Fanservice: Cynthia until she dies and becomes a malevolent ghost.
- Cynthia and Eileen can have alternate costumes that have notable jiggle increases.
- Mundangerous: When Henry returns from the Hospital World, the ceiling fan in the living room collapses and the air becomes heavy. At this point, the room becomes more vulnerable to ghosts.
- Orphanage of Fear: So much so, it almost makes you feel sorry for Walter. Almost.
- 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.
- Powerful Pick: The most damaging weapon in the game, but slow as molasses.
- 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 pretty much have overshadowed her own consciousness entirely.
- Shame If Something Happened: "BETTER CHECK ON YOUR NEIGHBOR SOON!, just before Eileen gets brutally attacked.
- When Henry wakes up in the Hospital for the first time, the lantern that the player sees looks a bit like the bottom of a flying saucer.
- Much of the Room 302 gameplay involves a trapped man trying to find clues about a murder by watching his neighbors through windows and peepholes. At one point, when describing the apartment building layout that facilitates this, Henry even remarks that "There was a movie like that a long time ago...".
- Victim 16 has a few similarities to Sadako/Samara visually. Especially in the introduction for her.
- Jasper's last name might be a shout out to serial killer Ed Gein.
- Walter's character may be influenced by the villain of In Dreams. Abused serial killers on delusional quests for their their mothers are arguably common, but these two even dress alike.
- Sinister Subway: Including a maze of half opened and closed subway cars, populated by unkillable ghosts who can phase between cars and cause you damage with mere proximity. Fun times.
- Speech Impediment: Jasper Gein's got a pretty bad stutter. Notably, after he's set on fire, he's not stuttering.
- Undead Child:
- The two faced owls 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.
- Villain Protagonist: It becomes increasingly clear throughout the game that Walter is the main character, and Henry is just an important co-star.
- Wall Master: Almost to Goddamned Bats-level on That One Escalator.
- ther's more in the prison world depending one which cells you enter.
- Wham! Episode: That cute next-door neighbor you've been watching throughout the first half of the plot gets brutally attacked, and from then on your room can also be affected by hauntings (worse if you accepted Walter's creepy doll).
- Wild Wilderness: There are a few levels, like the graveyard and outside the train station, that fit this 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.
- 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 he finds himself right back in the Otherworld again.