February 4th, 2010: I’d rather find Cheryl, but I don’t want Lisa to be left to the horrors of Silent Hill, either.
This game is affecting me in a strange way. It may be one of the least predictable and “gamelike” SH games.
At Lisa’s apartment, she said that Harry was too nice to be like other guys. She seemed to be resting, but then blood suddenly began to pour from her nose.
Harry did not understand how or why.
Cybil barged in and aimed her gun at him. He pleaded his innocence in Lisa’s demise, but Cybil had none of it. “Shut the hell up! You’ve been feeding me bullshit all night. I know you’re not Harry Mason!”
Just then, the apartment, Lisa, and Cybil froze solid.
February 7th, 2010: I had a wild dream about SH: SM. In this dream, there were still nightmare sequences, but they were much harder. Harry running out of breath actually had the consequence of hampering his speed. In this nightmare, the could dodge the more varied, less human enemies and use weapons, but it took me three tries to get to… a boss fight.
The path through the nightmare led out of the apartments and partially into the Toluca Mall.
There was a puzzle and a clue involving that bitchy mother from that older puzzle. Actually, it involved her daughter and her husband as well…
Michelle called. John finally picked her up.
The mall had a theater with classic Konami arcade games! Hm.
How awesome would it have been if it let you play them? Of course, that would have required some effort on Konami’s part, and we all know by now that they’re not good at preserving their games…
The theater showed some of the home video from the game’s title screen. Instead of the actual audio, it had Cheryl say “Daddy!” over and over again.
There was a car to win from a contest at the mall. It looked like the car that Harry crashed in the beginning.
He finally reached Simmons Street. He entered the Mason apartment through the Green Lion pawn shop.
In the apartment, there was a stuffed animal of Tookie the toucan, the Toluca Mall mascot. There was also a picture of Cheryl on a swing.
“Cheryl?! Did you get my pills?”
A mean-sounding female voice came from the bedroom. In the bedroom, Harry found a woman with a tattoo around her belly button – just like Dahlia – sitting on the bed.
He wanted to know who she was.
“We’re soulmates,” she said. She caressed his left hand. “For richer or poorer, in sickness or in health.”
He did not believe her, and she suddenly froze solid. The ice came, but not before he learned from Dahlia that Cheryl might still be at the lighthouse. “Still”?
Beyond this point, the game becomes a surreal, icy hell full of leaps of faith; confusing, recycled rooms; and ominous revisits of Cheryl and Harry’s home video.
In the first fall, an icy visage of Cheryl reached out to Harry.
Finally, Harry found Cheryl’s room. He said, “This is your room. But you’re not here…”
He slept on her bed.
Then, another therapy session. The subject: Marriage… and divorce. Despite plenty of high-profile celebrity divorces, I told Dr. K that I believe marriages can last forever, but that parents should not stay together just for the kids. I mistook one of my answers by pressing the wrong button.
Marriage can’t last forever because nothing can last forever.
Then, he had Harry arrange couples according to their pictures. One of the men resembled Harry; another, Dr. K; and one of the women resembled Cybil.
“Let’s keep going. We’re really making progress here,” said Dr. K in a tone that I took as sarcastic.
Harry was woken up by Michelle, of all people. She said that the lighthouse was closed, but she and John could take him there via the lakeside road.
Jon looks like the other man in the pictures.
He and Michelle argued and left Harry alone. He left the car and wound up in the sewers.
“THEME PARK THIS WAY” was written outside the sewer entrance.
Inside the sewers, Harry got a call from Cheryl. “I’m bleeding so much…”
She sounded pitiable and sad – no hope for rescue in her voice. Now, I’m scared.
The Lakeside Amusement Park. That was where they filmed that video.
February 8th, 2010: Harry passed through Annie’s Bar and found Michelle drinking a beer. She dumped John.
She gave Harry directions to a boat to get to the lighthouse.
“She’s there. I’m sure of it,” announced Harry. He said that he would get the answers he was looking for.
Boy, would he.
“You might not like them,” warned Michelle.
Harry left Annie’s, and the game cut to the next therapy session. Now Dr. K wanted him to associate pictures into sexual or non-sexual categories. They looked like abstract paintings of bugs.
Then, Dr. K started babbling about the inexorable connection between sex and death. He said that people who were not getting enough are the ones in therapy, and that denying sex was denying death itself.
“Let’s follow this all the way to the end.”
A slot machine at the amusement park gave a cameo as a prize. It was a locket with a picture of a young woman from “Cheryl”’s room. It was labeled “Eve”.
Harry found the boat. Dahlia waited inside. She started the boat and told him that they would be at the lighthouse in 20 minutes.
She finally got him relaxed enough to have sex with her.
But he was the only one that woke up later, and when he did, she was frozen solid and appeared older like she did in the Mason apartment.
His coat was frozen, so he put on his clothes from the Lakeside Amusement Park trip.
Why were those still there?
Their boat crashed into the icy lighthouse cove.
Suddenly, the older Dahlia called, begging him to stop going to the lighthouse. He refused.
Cybil then sent him a text with a picture. “This is your seven year old Cheryl?”
The picture showed an older Cheryl in a mugshot.
Monsters on the icy field quickly overcame Harry, but the lighthouse light froze them solid. Was something protecting Harry?
The ice broke away, so he had to swim to shore.
Unfortunately, his strength ran out, but Cybil saved him. She told him that she believed he was Harry Mason, but Harry Mason died 18 years ago in a car crash.
She said that she no longer believed she was cut out for police work in this town, and that she would give Harry her badge once he returned.
The lighthouse was actually the Lighthouse Clinic. The plaque outside read, “M. Kaufmann MD [-] Counseling and Family Therapy”.
There was a cameo locket in an empty mannequin head in the clinic. It had a picture of Harry on it labeled “Adam”.
When you try to enter the only room available in the clinic, the game abruptly cut to another therapy session. Harry walked into the room.
In actuality, Cheryl was the one getting therapy.
“Dad… You are a hero. The man who died? He wasn’t my father. That isn’t who I remember. Those memories are all I have – you’re all I have.”
“I’m not even a ghost,” said Harry.
They hugged. She cried.
The game showed the truth behind that video. It showed Harry and Dahlia saying goodbye.
“You know this has nothing to do with you, right?” asked Harry. “Even though Mom and Dad don’t love each other anymore, we both love you, and we always will.”
As the credits roll, you see Dr. K produce his summary of his sessions with Cheryl.
All of those mementos that you could find throughout the game were things of Cheryl’s stored away in a box.
Dr. K’s summary said that the patient hasn’t seen everything yet.
Why does it seem like parts of the game I saw in previews are missing?
Well, I think the game is certainly more innovative than the staid Silent Hill: Homecoming.
Maybe putting her old mementos away is a part of her healing.
So this whole time, I was playing through the desperate imaginings of a delusional girl disappointed in her father.
Why has Konami handed over so many of its franchises to external developers?
Harry wouldn’t want her to create such a crazy savior fantasy.
So ultimately, SH: SM is really disturbing in a way unlike any other. No demon fetuses, no evil cult, no phantasmagorical transformations. Just a damaged person.
They never said that Harry was the one in therapy.