Silent Hill 2 References That You May Have Missed In Silent Hill 4: The Room
Silent Hill 4: The Room is the fourth mainline entry and the technical fifth instalment in the Silent Hill game series. It is one of the more controversial titles due to its very mixed reception among fans — despite good reviews — and a severe lack of the literal town Silent Hill. The game takes place almost entirely in Ashfield, a city that is 270km/168mi south of the series’ namesake according to Silent Hill: Downpour (a much worse and possibly non-canonical entry in the series). However, the city holds many connections to Silent Hill, and so does the game itself despite complaints of being unrelated. For this article, I’m going to specifically go over in-game connections to its predecessor Silent Hill 2.
However, let’s get something out of the way really quick. Silent Hill 4: The Room was always intended to be a Silent Hill game. There have been rumours for nearly as long as it has been out that Silent Hill 4: The Room was an original title made by Team Silent, the development team behind the original four mainline games, forced into the Silent Hill franchise by Konami. This rumour stems from the title’s original project name, Room 302. However, according to an interview through the now-defunct Boomtown.net with Team Silent members Masahi Tsuboyama and Akira Yamaoka, despite the project name not including “Silent Hill”, The Room was always intended to be a spin-off at the very least. An archived version of the interview remains on SilentHillMemories.net, an unofficial fansite dedicated to providing information on the entire franchise.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk Silent Hill 2 easter eggs!
First mentioned in the newspaper scrap – known as the “Article About Murder Incident” – found in the garbage chute at the Wood Side Apartments in Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 4 antagonist Walter Sullivan is a literal walking reference. He’s mentioned multiple times in Silent Hill 2, with the player — as James Sunderland — even being able to find Walter’s town-manifested grave. Walter’s Silent Hill 2 ties don’t just end there though. Walter, born and abandoned in Room 302 of the South Ashfield Heights, is discovered by the apartment superintendent Frank Sunderland.
Superintendent of South Ashfield Heights for the 40 years it has existed prior to the start of the game, Frank Sunderland is an important character to both the lore of Silent Hill 4 and the series as a whole. Frank is the father of Silent Hill 2 protagonist James Sunderland. While Frank doesn’t say this himself, Henry provides this information to the player after returning from the Forest Otherworld if the player chooses to look at a photo of Toluca Lake that Frank had gifted him prior to the events of the game.
“I got this photo from Sunderland, the superintendent. I heard his son and daughter-in-law disappeared in Silent Hill a few years back…”
Another familiar name from Silent Hill 2, Rachel was both Mary Shepherd-Sunderland’s nurse throughout the final three years of her life and the nurse of Laura, who went to the town of Silent Hill in an attempt to find the deceased Mary. In Silent Hill 4, Rachel is the tenant of Room 106 in South Ashfield Heights and a possible nurse at St. Jerome’s Hospital in Ashfield, hinting that this is where Mary was treated and Ashfield is where James and Mary lived. She is only seen and mentioned through memos, photos, and paintings.
It is worth mentioning that Rachel's name is spelled "Rachael" in Silent Hill 4. This is commonly accepted as a localization issue but the true reason is unknown.
The Red Devil
Often written off as a retcon, the Red Devil is first mentioned in the same newspaper scrap as Walter Sullivan in Silent Hill 2. In fact, these are the words Walter is reported to have said after the murder of the Locane twins:
“He's trying to kill me. He's trying to punish me. The monster… the red devil. Forgive me. I did it, but it wasn't me!”
It’s often speculated that the memo was an attempt to foreshadow Pyramid Head (also known as Red Pyramid Thing) despite him being James’ personal manifestation (not counting the possibly non-canonical Silent Hill Homecoming). However, it is revealed in Silent Hill 4 that the Red Devil was actually Silent Hill cultist Jimmy Stone, an executioner and priest that wore a large red hood and served under Valtiel, the angel of rebirth. It’s also revealed that Jimmy had led Walter to his murderous ways through the cult and was his first victim because of that, but with the consequence that Walter felt Jimmy was trying to kill him from beyond the grave. All is fair in love and demon summoning rituals, I suppose.
“There’s something in the toilet…”
A rather lighthearted reference to one of the darkest games in the horror genre, if the player examines the toilet in Henry’s apartment bathroom, they will receive a prompt to stick their hand inside to grab an object.
"There's something in the toilet... Should I grab it?"
This is in reference to the toilet in Room 203 of the Blue Creek Apartments in Silent Hill 2, in which James must stick his hand down in order to grab a necessary wallet to progress. If the player does choose to have Henry do the same in Silent Hill 4, however, he will ignore the input and say "I'm not brave enough to do it..."
Chainsaw Idle Animation
Gamers that have played Silent Hill 2 more than one time are sure to be familiar with the chainsaw, one of the best weapons in the game. Players that have a tendency to leave their controller idle may have also noticed that when James has the chainsaw equipped near a dead body (or bodies), he will lift the weapon above his head and rev it up while letting out a battle cry.
The chainsaw is much harder to acquire in Silent Hill 4, with the player needing to beat the game after they have played New Fear mode, but the animation stays the same. When the player lets Henry idle near multiple bodies, he will eventually rev the chainsaw up and hold it above his head, sans the battle cry. Still an awesome reference!
“Waiting for You ~ LIVE AT ‘Heaven’s Night’ ~ (unreleased tunes)”
First of all, that is the name of the 22nd track on Silent Hill 4’s official soundtrack. Yes, that whole thing is the name. Second, “Heaven’s Night” is not a real place. It is the strip club that mind manifestation Maria dances/works at in Silent Hill 2. “Waiting for You” is recorded to sound like it is being performed live at Heaven’s Night and the lyrics relate heavily to the characters Maria, Mary, and James in Silent Hill 2 and may even be interpreted as Maria singing them. The song also includes samples of Silent Hill 2 songs, including “Theme of Laura”, the main theme of Silent Hill 2.
It’s also worth pointing out that in the Silent Hill 4 soundtrack’s liner notes, the address to Heaven’s Night is given along with a fake recording date and that Mira, the Shiba Inu seen in Silent Hill 2’s hidden dog ending, is credited as playing the guitar alongside Akira Yamaoka on the track.
“LIVE [SILENT HILL ~No way to escape~] 2003.9.21
Club “Heaven’s Night”
2121 Carroll St.. South Vale, ME”
BONUS ROUND: Things Left Unsaid
While Silent Hill 4 and Silent Hill 2 both remain rather tight-lipped with their secrets, the two give each other a lot of background information. It is never explicitly said where James and Mary reside when they aren’t visiting the town of Silent Hill, but the breadcrumbs left in Silent Hill 4 give us enough to assume it is in Ashfield. It is almost safe to assume that they live in the southern part of the town, near St Jerome’s Hospital and the South Ashfield Heights apartments. The same can also be said of Laura, who had stayed and possibly lived at the hospital after her parents died. It’s also fair to assume that James was raised in Ashfield or at least is rather familiar with it, seeing as how his father has been in the city both before he was born and after he went missing with his wife. These small details along with the knowledge that Frank gave Henry a photo of Toluca Lake when Henry moved in, possibly while mourning the son he lost “a few years back”, even give us a better idea of what the canonical ending to Silent Hill 2 is.
That information and more would not exist if it weren’t for Silent Hill 4 and it’s important to recognise that, seeing as how it is often seen as the black sheep of the original Team Silent games. It is very connected to the lore of Silent Hill but in ways that require the player to speculate instead of information being readily given. If you are a fan of the series and have not played Silent Hill 4 yet, I heavily suggest you do. You may even discover something new about a different Silent Hill game.