Silent Hill 3 is the third installment in the Silent Hill survival horror series. It is the second game to be released on the PC and PlayStation 2, and unlike Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 4: The Room, it was never ported to the original Xbox. The game was developed by Team Silent and published by Konami, and it launched in North America on August 6, 2003.
With the release of the Silent Hill HD Collection, it is now available to play on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The game is a direct sequel to the first game, although this is kept secret from the player for plot twist purposes.
Seventeen years have passed since the events of the first game, and the baby whom the Incubator gave to Harry Mason at the end of the first game, Heather Mason, is now a teenage girl. Harry took Heather into his care to raise as his own daughter.
While running an errand for her father at the Central Square Shopping Center, Heather falls asleep inside a fast food restaurant and dreams about Silent Hill, where she finds herself wandering through a nightmarish amusement park. After fighting her way past several monsters, Heather walks along the roller coaster's tracks until she is struck down by the roller coaster.
After the roller coaster incident in her nightmare, Heather wakes up in the mall. She calls her father and lets him know that she is on her way home. Just as she is leaving, however, Heather encounters a detective named Douglas Cartland, who was hired by a cult known as the Order to find her. Heather, thinking him to be a stalker, hides in a restroom. She jumps out a window, but her way out is blocked on both ends, forcing her to find another way through the mall. Inside the mall, Heather realizes that there are strange monsters lurking around, and in a clothing store, Heather finds a handgun to defend herself with.
As Heather wanders through the mall, she encounters a barefoot woman dressed in all black with flowing blonde hair. She is the high priestess of the Order, Claudia Wolf, who has been searching for Heather (or rather, Alessa Gillespie) for a long time. Claudia tells Heather that her talents are required and to "remember me, and your true self as well", and that she will lead them to Paradise "with bloodstained hands". Heather then comes down with a serious migraine as Claudia leaves.
When Heather enters an elevator, its descent causes a radio to drop from the ceiling, which emits static whenever monsters are nearby. The elevator doors open up, revealing a second, more sinister-looking elevator that indicates a crossover into another reality. After riding the second elevator down, Heather then finds herself inside the Otherworld, a nightmare version of the mall. Even though she is frightened, she manages to make it back to the Real World after a battle with an enormous worm in the mall's depths. Once everything is back to normal, or at least seems to be, Heather heads for the subway so that she may return home. However, Douglas stops her; Heather assumes that the private investigator is on Claudia's side, but he tells her that he was only hired to find her. Heather leaves the bewildered man alone and enters the subway.
As with the mall, the subway is deserted, with the exception of the odd monster here and there. Heather even has a close call when she narrowly avoids being run over by a subway car. She takes the aforementioned subway to the underpass and fights her way through the sewer-like corridors until she reaches a construction site, which she uses to reach another building, the Hilltop Center, which is adjacent to the construction site through an open window. Inside Hilltop Center, Heather enters the nightmare realm once again.
Heather encounters a man named Vincent Smith, who is also a priest of the Order, but he has different views on where the cult should go. After a brief conversation, she abandons him as well, voicing her beliefs that there is something wrong with him. When Heather reaches the exit, she finds a monster called the Glutton blocking it; she then finds scattered pages of a fairy tale which contains the words "Tu Fui, Ego Eris", which makes the monster disappear. After the removal of the beast, Heather is brought back to the normal world and escapes the Hilltop Center.
Upon arriving at her home in the Daisy Villa Apartments, Heather discovers the body of her father, Harry Mason, slumped in his chair, having been brutally murdered. Heather, shocked and speechless at her father being taken away from her so suddenly, rests on her father's lap and sobs heavily. Once she regains control of her emotions, Heather follows the blood trail to the apartment's rooftop where Claudia is waiting for her. Her motive for Harry's murder is he thwarted the cult's plans seventeen years ago and that killing him would fill Heather's heart full of hatred. Claudia tells Heather that she wasn't the one that killed him, only that she gave the order to her companion: the beastly Missionary. Claudia then tells Heather that she will be waiting for her in Silent Hill and leaves the apartment.
After killing the monster, Heather finds Douglas inside the apartment. He helps her move Harry's body into his room, covered by a sheet with lilies. Heather pays her final respects to her father and decides to find Claudia and kill her in revenge, despite the fact that Douglas tells her revenge isn't the answer. Douglas offers to drive her to Silent Hill, which she reluctantly agrees to. Outside the apartment, Douglas hands Heather a map of her destination, a gift from Vincent, and tells her that Vincent says to look for a man named Leonard Wolf. He also gives her a notebook from her father, which acts as an explanation of Heather's past and as a final goodbye to her.
Heather and Douglas arrive in Silent Hill, the town deserted and veiled in fog, the following day. They set up refuge in Jacks Inn and then split up; Heather heads for Brookhaven Hospital, while Douglas goes to search Leonard Wolf's house. Heather searches the hospital for clues to Claudia's location, but instead, among other things, Heather finds twisted nurses, some of which are armed with revolvers. She also finds that one of the hospital's patients, Stanley Coleman, has an unhealthy obsession with her, and that Leonard is imprisoned within the hospital. Heather realizes a startling discovery about herself long forgotten: she is the reincarnation of Alessa Gillespie, as she has memories of Alessa's life previous to a fire she was burned in at the age of seven.
Heather enters the nightmare realm once again, and it is here that she encounters Leonard Wolf, who reveals himself to be the father of Claudia. Unfortunately, Leonard has degenerated into a monster and attacks Heather, who defeats him. Heather acquires the Seal of Metatron, a talisman which Leonard possessed, and the hospital becomes normal once again upon Leonard's demise. Heather returns to Jacks Inn to meet with Douglas; however, just before she returns, Claudia and Vincent have a conversation about the cult, as well as Leonard's abusiveness to Claudia, in their motel room.
Vincent is waiting for Heather when she returns to Jacks Inn, Claudia having already left. Heather asks him about Douglas' location, and Vincent tells her that he left a message: "The church is on the other side of the lake." He also tells Heather that Claudia is inside the church and that she must pass through Lakeside Amusement Park in order to reach her. Heather follows Vincent's advice, only to find that when she arrives at the park, she enters the Otherworld once again. Heather follows the path to the roller coaster, only this time around, with foreknowledge of what is going to occur, she manages to jump off the tracks just before the cars run her over.
In another part of the park, Claudia and Douglas are arguing; Douglas feels betrayed by Claudia, saying that while she says that Heather was kidnapped and brainwashed, he feels that Heather is actually happy. Claudia then explains that they need Heather back into the cult because God needs to be born to usher in a new "Paradise" -- an eternal world filled with no pain, hunger, sickness, old age, greed, or war. Douglas then points out that a place without any worries or negative implications is not really a paradise, but rather, a stagnant world where nothing happens of any real value. Douglas sighs, saying that type of world would be pointless and boring, and in response, Claudia tells Douglas that she pities him. The detective then pulls out his gun and points it at her, and what happens afterwards remains a mystery.
After exploring the amusement park, Heather eventually runs into Douglas once again, but he is unable to come with her due to his broken leg, which is implied to have been intentionally damaged by Claudia using her power of psychokinesis. Heather promises to come back once she is done with things, and she comes to find herself in the same area of the amusement park where Harry was seventeen years earlier. On the carousel, Heather encounters her doppelgänger, the Memory of Alessa. The "other Heather" is bloodied and severely burned and wishes to stop the birth of the god at all costs. After defeating her dark self, Heather reaches the entrance of the cult's church.
Heather encounters Claudia inside the chapel and tells her that Alessa is fine with the world the way it is. It is unknown if this was actually Alessa or just Heather pretending to be her as a way of manipulating Claudia. Claudia has a strong will and explains that there is too much suffering in the world and the god of her cult will change all that, although Heather explains that suffering is a fact of life and that Claudia must face that reality and not hurt anyone. Heather also tells Claudia that she will never forgive her for killing Harry. Heather suddenly feels pain, as the god is close to being ready for birth, and Claudia leaves.
While fighting her way through the corridors of the church, Heather encounters Vincent inside the library. He asks her about the Seal of Metatron, which Heather has in her possession. Vincent is relieved, as he believes it can be used as a weapon to defeat Claudia, whom Heather finally catches up to inside the cult's inner sanctum. Claudia wounds Vincent by stabbing him from behind, and Heather is somewhat taken aback by this action. After Claudia calms down, she resumes her usual composure and thanks Heather for making God feel hate and becoming closer to Paradise. Heather then points out that a god who believes in hate can never create a perfect world, to which Claudia retaliates by saying that even a joyful world can be a cruel place, and that in order to understand sympathy, one must also know pain and suffering. Vincent, still alive, desperately tells Claudia that Heather has the Seal of Metatron; Claudia then reveals that the talisman is nothing but a useless trinket before stabbing Vincent in the heart, resulting in his death.
Heather nearly succumbs to her rage after calling Claudia a "bitch", but finally gains control of herself, and she swallows the capsule of Aglaophotis, known for exorcising demons, that was inside the pendant around her neck. She promptly vomits the bloody fetus of the god onto the floor, and after taunting Claudia with "Looks like God didn't make it!", Heather attempts to stomp on it with her boot, but Claudia shoves her aside and picks up the creature. After ingesting God herself, Claudia falls through a hole, and Heather jumps in after her.
Inside the chamber, Claudia is dead, after giving birth to the god. Heather then discovers the beastly deity, which resembles a repulsive skeletal body with a reptilian female face (which resembles Alessa's own face), and a shroud provided by Valtiel. Due to Claudia, God has been reborn. Heather kills the god, thus finally avenging her father. Heather then collapses to the floor and mourns over Harry's death. After regaining composure, Heather stands up and begins to leave, but turns around and stares back at God's direction; it is unknown what occurs after this and before the ending.
- Normal: Heather returns to the amusement park, no longer in the Otherworld. She acts very strangely as she approaches Douglas: she wields a knife and seems unresponsive, acting as if she is about to kill Douglas, but then suddenly stops and tells him she was just playing a joke. Douglas makes a comment on how she has a twisted sense of humor. She then insists that Douglas call her Cheryl, which is the name her father originally gave to her. Douglas then asks if she is also considering going back to her original black hair color, to which she replies that "blondes have more fun". The game closes with an image of Cheryl visiting Harry's grave. This is the canon ending, due to a mention of Douglas surviving and exposing the cult in Silent Hill: Homecoming.
- Possessed: Heather is standing still in the Otherworld amusement park, and Douglas is lying before her, stabbed to death. Heather is holding her knife in her hand, soaked with blood. This may allude to Claudia's prophecy, which said that Heather would "lead believers to Paradise with bloodstained hands". To get the "Possessed" ending, the player must have already finished the game at least once, with Heather accumulating a certain number of "points" throughout the second attempt. Points are accumulated through killing creatures (10 points each), taking damage (1 point with each attack), and forgiving the confessor (1,000 points). The player must accumulate 4,000 points to receive this ending.
- Revenge (UFO): Just like in Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 3 has a UFO ending. After doing what is necessary to attain this ending, a storyboard/comic-like ending commences. Heather returns home to find that her father, Harry Mason, is not dead, and is in fact sitting at a table drinking tea with an alien. James Sunderland, the protagonist from Silent Hill 2, can be seen in the background, hiding behind a curtain. Heather, who seems unfazed by the fact that an extraterrestrial is present, informs her father of the horrors and events that she has experienced. Harry, clearly upset, vows revenge on the town for wronging his daughter. He then jump-kicks a wooden board held by James clean in two pieces in a fit of rage, as Heather and the alien look on and cheer.
The next scene portrays the town being obliterated in a UFO attack similar to a 1950s science fiction B-horror movie, and the credit sequence then begins, with an unseen Japanese man coaxing an unseen chorus of what sounds to be Japanese men impersonating children into singing an odd song, entitled "Silent Hill no Uta" ("Silent Hill's Song") about the Silent Hill 3 characters, featuring silly jabs at each of the characters. They then appear to be gunned down by anonymous machine gun fire.
This ending cannot be acquired on the first playthrough, and requires that the player kill at least 31 monsters with the "Heather Beam" or "Sexy Beam" before entering Harry's apartment; also, when entering Harry's apartment, Heather must not have any weapon equipped (i.e., the Heather Beam is currently active).
Gameplay is similar to that of the previous two installments: Heather must solve puzzles, collect key items, and fight monsters to survive. Heather is equipped with a flashlight and radio; the flashlight is often the only source of light, and the radio emits static when an enemy is near.
Silent Hill 3 has some fresh mechanics. A new item in the series is beef jerky, which can be used to temporarily distract certain fiends. For the first time in the series, the player can die by falling down holes (except in Easy mode). Heather can also be knocked down onto the floor by certain monsters; wiggling the analog stick and pressing buttons can get her up faster.
Like Silent Hill 2, the tank controls are optional, and the player can choose their preferred control scheme. The controller vibration is used to indicate Heather's heartbeat and will vibrate on low health. It also vibrates when Heather attacks and is being attacked.
Combat with the various monsters is done through melee and firearm weapons. It is recommended to rely on strong, fast melee weapons, such as the katana, saving the guns for bosses and stronger foes. Unlike the previous two installments, the hunting rifle is replaced with the submachine gun. Heather can also block attacks, reducing damage inflicted instead of negating the entire attack itself.
Silent Hill 3 has a set of unlockable weapon which include the flamethrower, Beam Saber, "Heather Beam", and a "Sexy Beam", and are only unlocked after beating the game once. The player can also unlock various costumes after completing the game once, but some require the player to enter in codes to unlock them. The player can only use the "Sexy Beam" while wearing the "Transform" costume.
- Main article: Silent Hill 3 Original Soundtracks
The North American release came with an extra soundtrack CD titled Silent Hill 3 Official Soundtrack, a first in the series. It was also the first game to feature songs with lyrics sung by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and written by Joe Romersa, which became a series staple.
Silent Hill 3 received positive reviews, garnering an 83.77% rating at Game Rankings for the PlayStation 2 version and a 71.15% rating for the PC version. Its Metacritic rating for the PlayStation 2 version is 85/100, while the PC version has a rating of 72/100.
Positive reactions were given to the general horror and atmosphere of the game, including "truly horrifying sections", it "packs some genuine scares", and "the feeling of eeriness and doom is almost overwhelming". The story told as part of the atmosphere was also received pleasantly, making for a "satisfying, coherent sequel", although its status as such meant that "it may be a little tough to follow for people who haven't played the first game", despite "a laudable effort to help people catch up". In addition, the graphics, audio, and production values were all credited with adding positively to the atmosphere.
Negative criticism largely stemmed from the lack of any innovations in gameplay; the installment "doesn't do anything major that the series hasn't done before", "does little in term of innovation", and "doesn't offer much beyond the other titles in the series". Also criticized was the game's camera and control system, which despite having been improved from previous games, was described as "awkward, disorienting, and motion sickness-inducing". Some criticism stemmed from the length of the game, as it "can be easily beaten in a handful of hours."
Similarities to Silent Hill
There are many similarities between Silent Hill and Silent Hill 3, as Silent Hill 3 is a direct sequel to the game, mirroring its plot.
The protagonists of both games have two syllable names that start with "H" (Harry, Heather) with a last name of "Mason". The antagonist is a priestess of the Order whose name ends with "-ia" (Dahlia, Claudia). Alessa/Heather is pregnant with God's fetus, and the priestess is searching for her with the intent of birthing their deity to create a "Paradise" (through hellfire), which is exactly what Alessa/Heather doesn't want.
Both games start off with Harry and Heather inside of a dark dream. In their nightmares, they are both killed while visiting the Otherworld version of Silent Hill, but they soon wake up inside of a diner next to bottles of ketchup and mustard. A few moments later, they both meet detective-like characters who later support them throughout the game (Cybil and Douglas). In the Otherworld shopping centers they visit, each see televisions with images of Cheryl on them, and in these shopping centers, both enter a room that they are trapped in (Harry falls down a hole and Heather's ladder breaks) where they must defeat a giant version of a worm (Twinfeeler, Split Worm). Upon its defeat, the Otherworld reverts into the world they were previously in. The first bosses they encounter each have their heads split in half (Split Head and Split Worm). In the hospitals they visit, they both see the video tape of Lisa Garland, as well as use a camera (camera, instant camera) to solve a puzzle and sacrifice a blood pack in order to progress. They both enter similar-looking doors with three squares on them.
Both father and daughter visit the Otherworld Lakeside Amusement Park and go on the same carousel where they fight a female, doppelgänger-like boss (Puppet Cybil Bennett, Memory of Alessa), and after either battle, they visit Nowhere, a collection of manifested memories. For example, Harry and Heather both visit a manifestation of Alessa's classroom in Midwich Elementary School, as well as Alessa's sick room. The final save point in both games is located in Alessa's room; the final boss lies just beyond the door. In Nowhere, both protagonists are required to collect five items (Harry must collect five occult items, Heather must collect five tarot cards). Upon placing the five items on the door in Alessa's room, the player navigates through a hallway and the final confrontation occurs, where Aglaophotis is used to expel God.
At the end of both games, the antagonist (Dahlia, Claudia) dies, and the birth of God is prevented. Both lead characters have lost someone precious to them (Cheryl, Harry), and they leave Silent Hill and return to the Real World. One of the male characters of the game is killed in the finale (Michael Kaufmann, Vincent Smith).
Similar locations in both games include a shopping mall, jewelry store, sewers, church, hospital, motel, and Lakeside Amusement Park. Both characters can obtain gold and silver items (Gold Medallion and Silver Medallion for Harry, gold and silver pipes for Heather) and solve puzzles involving birds (Piano Puzzle, Crematorium Puzzle). Both protagonists find wheelchairs with their wheels still spinning (Harry finds it in the alleyway in the dream sequence, Heather finds it in Brookhaven's basement).
- Silent Hill 3 was originally not meant to be a direct sequel to the first game: "Originally the intention was not to make SH3 a direct sequel to the first game. In fact, the scenario was completely different, but fans seemed to want to tie up some loose ends, so we tried that, even though some on the staff did not agree with the decision."
- Also, Masahiro Ito shared that the game was first planned as an arcade shooter. Ito insisted, however, that this was a bad move as it strayed from Silent Hill's traditional gameplay. 
- At least eight women worked on Silent Hill 3, including four Japanese women, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Heather Morris, Donna Burke, and Lenne Hardt, and possibly more. Also, contrary to what some may think, the women of Team Silent were the reason that Heather wears a miniskirt because they thought her showing her legs would make her look more feminine, as the male designer originally imagined Heather in jeans.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a few pieces of art from the church of Silent Hill 3 inside of the library in the Graniny Gorki Lab. As well, the "silencer corpse" in the construction site in Silent Hill 3 is noted as being a reference to the Metal Gear Solid series in the official strategy guide by Dan Birlew.
- Silent Hill 3 is the first game in the series where the player takes control of a character shown in a previous game, in this case, Alessa/Cheryl from Silent Hill.
- According to the Book of Lost Memories, there is a fourth ending referred to as a "phantom ending", in which Heather attempts to kill Claudia Wolf before she uses the Aglaophotis. The creators stated, "It's not game over, and can be interpreted as another conclusion to the story." 
- Silent Hill 3, Silent Hill: Origins, and Silent Hill: Downpour are the only canon games that allow the player to take control of the protagonist while in the Real World.
- Initially, Heather was supposed to hear the wail of a newborn baby in the Otherworld at the end of the game, implying God has been transferred into a new host. Though the sound was removed from the game, creator Masahiro Ito confirmed the baby is part of the canon. Ito also confirmed that Heather heard this cry at the end of the game, which is why she turns her head. It is unknown who the baby is.
- Heather's dream at the beginning of the game acts as a tutorial on the game's mechanics, a trend that would be followed in Silent Hill: Homecoming and Silent Hill: Downpour.
- Silent Hill 3 is the only Silent Hill title in the main series that doesn't have a child who is a major part of the plot. Ironically, Silent Hill 3 also has the strongest themes of childrearing in the series.
- In Making of Silent Hill 3 when Heather is seen asleep in Happy Burger, Masahiro Ito says: "In this sequence, which takes place in the beginning of the game, the color of the sunset is redder than it is in reality. This is a way of telling the player, right from the start, that in 'Silent Hill 3', something 'red' is waiting for them..." This "red" color also occurs in a later, quite emotional part in the game where Heather is in the church and finds a room nearly identical to her father's. The lighting is easily distinguishable from anything else.
- Silent Hill 3 is the first Silent Hill game where the player is able to unlock different outfits.
- Harry's voice in the UFO ending is digitally scrambled because he does not have a voice actor in the main story.
- In the PC version of the game, Harry's voice in the Hilltop Center Otherworld shift cutscene has been removed. The same happens in Brookhaven Hospital when Lisa's recording is shown.
- One sound file omitted from the final version is the noise of a baby crying in another room, meant to be heard on the third floor of Hilltop Center. Though it is unknown why exactly it would be removed from the game, it is possible that the developers found it too disturbing even by Silent Hill standards. In the Silent Hill HD Collection port of the game, a similar sound of a baby crying was used during Heather's first meeting with Claudia.
- Silent Hill 3 Japanese website
- Silent Hill 3 on PCGamingWiki
- Various noises and sound effects heard throughout the game
|Silent Hill games|
|Main series||Silent Hill · 2 · 3 · 4 · Origins · Homecoming · Shattered Memories · Downpour|
|Ports / Adaptations||Play Novel · Mobile · HD Collection · Slot machine|
|Spin-offs||The Arcade · Orphan · 2 · 3 · The Escape · Book of Memories|
|Cancelled||Silent Hills (P.T.)|
|Production||Konami · Team Silent · Climax Studios · Double Helix · Vatra Games · WayForward Technologies · TAKASAGO|
|Extras||Inspirations · Features|