When we last left off in Let's Play Silent Hill Part 1, I somehow managed to run away from the murderous dogs and pterodactyls roaming the streets of Silent Hill and quickly made my way up the steps of the front entrance of Midwich elementary school.
Schools are always unsettling at night. If you have ever stayed after school for a function (in my case it was play practice) you would know that once the school has been vacated of children and teachers alike, it turns into a different, more sinister, place. In Silent Hill, an empty school at night turns into a hellish nightmare haunted by demonic children.
Midwich elementary school is named after the novel "The Midwich Cuckoos" by John Wyndham. The same book was also the inspiration for the classic horror film, "Village of the Damned."
For those of you that don't know what the allusion is between "The Midwhich Cuckoos" and "Silent Hill," "The Midwhich Cuckoos" is about supernatural psychic children that manipulate people into doing what they want, which usually ends up with people committing suicide. "Silent Hill" is about a girl who can supernaturally control the landscape and the monsters that now inhabit it with her subconscious mind.
The title of the book "The Midwich Cuckoos" is also a nod to the cuckoo bird, which lays its eggs in other bird's nests and gets them to raise its young; much like how Harry found Cheryl as an infant on the side of the road and raised her as is own daughter.
Something that is even more remarkable than the connection to "Village of the Damned" is the fact that Midwich elementary school's layout is based on the school in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Kindergarten Cop." It is so surreal for me to learn this because I never really realized it until just recently, even though I saw "Kindergarten Cop" back when it first came out.
"Kindergarten Cop" is about a tough as nails cop (Schwarzenegger) who goes undercover at an elementary school to bust a drug dealer. There are hints of a large drug ring existing in Silent Hill as well. Interesting...
|Arnie looks how I felt when I learned the truth about Midwich Elementary School being based on his movie.|
Check it out, even the entrance is the same!
Someone at Konami must've decided to use the school from "Kindergarten Cop" as a model for Midwhich elementary school because they weren't familiar with the layout of American schools. Even some of the posters on the walls of of the school are from the movie. Weird...
Do you see it?
|The dog. The crazy faced dog with its mocking smile. It's everywhere.|
Upon entering the school lobby, I picked up the school map that was hanging on the wall. Yet again, the map is a crucial tool to use during game play, as it is easy to get turned around when you step out of rooms and into the labyrinthine hallways. This trick of changing direction may not be intentional, but it certainly makes it harder to avoid the demon children when you are trying to figure out what direction you are facing so that you run the right way down the hall to get to the next open door.
Like all of the buildings in Silent Hill, Midwhich is a labyrinth of locked doors. The few open doors are used to funnel you through the school in a haphazard manner so that you are forced to confront the demon children lurking in the darkness.
The steel pipe is the best weapon to use against the demon children and unlike "Silent Hill Zero," the weapons don't degrade during use and break on you during game play.
(I of course, forgot that there are certain weapons that can only be picked up at specific times during game play and missed picking up the better pipe. So I'm stuck with the rusty pipe for my play-through. *sigh*)
The demon children, aka grey children, were replaced in the PAL and NSTC-J (Japan region) versions of "Silent Hill" with the sewer dwelling Mumblers. The replacement probably had something to do with having to kill children (albeit evil undead children with a penchant for murder) in a video game.
The skins of the Mumblers are different, but they're still the same stature as the demon children. I suppose that the Mumblers could be considered evil midgets with knives for fingers. But come on, we all know that they're the same size as the demon children, which means that Mumblers are just another form of evil children in Silent Hill. Silly censors.
|This is a Mumbler. It's scarier in the game than depicted here. Trust me.|
Once in the main hallway, Harry comes across the front desk and the infirmary of the school. On the reception area of the front desk is a book with a list of teachers: Johnson, Keith and K. Gordon-- which are members of the band Sonic Youth. My bet is that Cheryl liked to listen to them and that is why there are listed.
Here Harry comes across books dripping with blood.
This clever riddle is just one of the many clues that help you solve the puzzle and open the foreboding door located on the front of the school's clock tower.
From the reception desk, you can enter the infirmary, where you can save your game and find a health drink and a first aid kit. In the room adjacent to the infirmary is a huge coffee table and a disturbing painting on the wall which foreshadows the change in scenery that will occur later on when the school enters the Nightmare Realm. Here I grabbed a few handgun bullets, stared at the awesomely creepy painting for a few moments and then left the room.
|I don't know Harry, I rather kind of like it. |
But, then again, I live in the House of Horror, so it would match my decor.
A search of the rest of the hallway reveals that only one more set of doors is open-- the double doors that lead through the courtyard. It's still night time in Silent Hill, which makes it difficult to see the three demon children that are hiding in the courtyard, waiting to strike.
You can kill them, but they will respawn so it's best to use the pipe than to shoot them, as you will run out of bullets faster than you'd think. Me, well, I just ran around them and made my way to the clock tower in the courtyard.
At the far upper left corner is an ominous clock tower with a door on the front. Similar to the item puzzles in "Resident Evil," Harry must find two medallions; a silver moon and a golden sun which will be inserted into the holes on either side of the clock tower.
Also like "Resident Evil" there's a lot of backtracking in the buildings during game play and you will find yourself running back and forth several times through Midwhich elementary school while solving the clock tower puzzle.
After inspecting the clock tower, I made a hasty retreat out the nearest door and then across the hallway through the next set of double doors, which leads to yet another locked exit. The lobby here has the first squeaking black ghost that makes weird little chirps as it walks. It sets off the radio alarm, but doesn't attack you. You can't kill it either. It's just there to scare the crap out of you. Which it does. Every single time I come across it.
After picking up the handgun bullets, I left the back entrance of the school and tried all of the other doors in the hallway. The only other door that's open is the boy's bathroom. Which has a demon child lurking in it. Yay.
Let's kill it!
And I did.
After searching the first floor, I ran over to the stairs and went up to the second floor. The first classroom on the right has a door that's open and two demon children waiting for Harry. Thankfully, they're easy enough to run around, so I ran over to pick up the health drink on the teacher's desk and then went through the side door into the next classroom.
The side doors of the classrooms come in handy as they allow you to bypass certain sections of the hallways and avoid coming into contact with the demon children that are there.
I've played through "Silent Hill" several times now, however, this time around I got a better look at the posters on the classroom walls because I was playing on a big screen HDTV. Because of the superior TV technology, I noticed something disturbing that I missed before by playing the game on a cathode ray TV; a lot of the posters in the classrooms have eyes on them.
Someone is watching Harry's every move. I wonder who that could be?
I killed the demon children and then picked up the ammo and left the bathroom.
Then, passing through the double doors in the hallway by the stairs, I entered the lab equipment room. Searching the dark shelves of the storage area, I came across a large purple bottle of "lab chemical" and picked it up. If you inspect the item in your inventory, you will learn that the label says that it's hydrochloric acid, which is needed for the next puzzle.
In the laboratory next door, there are the old style black-topped lab tables. I don't know about you, but they bring back memories of biology class and dissecting insects. (Which may have been intentional. There is a huge insect theme going on in "Silent Hill" that is made more apparent later on in the game.)
On one of the tables is a statue of a large pink old man's hand grasping an oval shaped plate with a gold medallion mounted on it.
The first riddle is used to solve this puzzle.
I used the "laboratory chemical" (the "sage's water") on the hand statue to dissolve it and then picked up the golden medallion.
I then returned to the first floor and re-entered the courtyard. At the "a golden sun" hole on the side of the clock tower, I used the gold medallion to set it in place. There is a clicking sound of something unlocking, signaling that the next part of the puzzle is unlocked.
From the clock tower in the courtyard on the first floor, I headed back up to the second floor and over to the short hallway with the locker room and the music room. There are three demon children in this hallway that need to be killed because it's hard to avoid them and if you don't kill them, they'll kill you.
I know this because they killed me. Twice. Oops.
Yeah. It turns out that I'm fine dealing with two demon children, but add one more to the mix, and the damage they deal somehow seems to increase to the point where a few attacks will be enough to kill Harry. Strange that.
|A thorough man, Harry always stomps on their heads once the demon children are down to ensure that they are dead.|
Speaking of strange, there's a cat scare in the locker room on the second floor that's completely out of place for a spooky school setting.
This scene is a total cliche if there ever was one to be found in "Silent Hill." I mean come on, what's a cat doing in an elementary school that's been overtaken by demon children?
If it was anything like my cat Skittles, it would've skedaddled and found the smallest, darkest spot of the building to hide in and not make a peep until the danger is over. Skittles certainly wouldn't be caught dead in a locker. Of course, he's probably too fat to fit in one.
The room next to the locker room is the music room with a grand piano, where the next clock tower medallion, the silver moon, is stashed. The piano keyboard cover is unlocked once the gold sun medallion is set in place in the clock tower.
When the keyboard cover is lifted, it reveals blood stained ivory keys.
|Gee, I don't know Harry. What do you think?|
On the chalkboard there's sheet music with another riddle written in blood.
Unfortunately, this riddle is so dense that even someone familiar with a piano keyboard will find it difficult to solve, which is why I looked it up in my trusty strategy guide. It's "Totally Unauthorized."
On a funny note, Prima's "Official Strategy Guide" for "Silent Hill" is utterly useless. It omits crucial details such as secret endings, weapons, item locations and gave incorrect directions for solving puzzles. Relying on their information makes players utterly lost and unable to finish the game. I don't recommend it.
Let's Watch Harry Solve the Piano Puzzle!
Once the silent piano keys are pressed, the silver medallion is released. I picked it up and then returned to the clock tower and set it into the silver moon slot.
Doing so however, does not immediately unlock the door on the clock tower.
There is still one more piece to this puzzle.
The answer is found in the last riddle from the books on the reception desk.
"Darkness that brings the choking heat"
Flames render the silence
Awakening the hungry beast
Open time's door to beckon prey.
So, "Darkness that brings the choking heat" refers to the school's boiler-- which is used to heat the elementary school. In order to get to the basement, where the boiler room is located, I had to run back through the school, up to the second floor to the double doors and across the short back hallway to where there is a stairwell on the northeast side of the school. From there, I went down the stairs to reach the school's basement.
Entering the storage room, I picked up the shot gun shells and the ampoule, which completely heals all of Harry's health and is a life saver during the later boss fights.
The boiler room is next door to the storage room. Inside the boiler room is a large boiler (duh) with a bright red light. Pushing the light opens the door on the clock tower.
Entering the clock tower Harry finds a short walkway and a hole in the floor with ladder rungs on one wall.
At the bottom of the ladder, there is an entrance with a large "Keep Out" sign posted overhead. Yeah. That's not ominous and foreboding at all.
From this point on, it's obvious that Harry is about to venture into the Nightmare Realm version of Midwhich elementary school.
But, it's too late to chicken out now. Cheryl could be there and we have to save her!
Next Up: Let's Play Silent Hill Part 3: Midwhich School Nightmare Realm!