The Split Worm is a gigantic, vile worm that is covered with a protective, lavender-colored outer layer. This thick skin splits vertically to reveal a fleshy head without any visible eyes or nostrils. It has a massive set of jaws with gigantic teeth, which are its primary attack method. In terms of shape and arrangement, its teeth greatly resemble those of a human adult rather than an animal. It has many strips of gooey flesh connecting its head to the protective layer of skin. While it is massive in size, it is not as long as the word "worm" would suggest.
It attacks by burrowing in and out of the orifices surrounding its lair. The Split Worm's thick outer hide is invulnerable to any attack, including gunfire; rather, the flesh inside is its weak point. When it decides to attack, it lashes out with its massive jaws to bite Heather, but leaves her with a huge window of opportunity to open fire against its vulnerable head before it does so. It can also strike the ground and cause it to quake, unbalancing Heather and causing a small amount of damage. This is a precarious point for the player, as Heather can stay down for a considerable amount of time before finally recovering and standing up. Watch out for its instant kill attack -- Split Worm will rise up screeching at Heather while it prepares to lunge at her. To avoid this attack, use the side step.
There aren't a lot of weapon options for the player except for the handgun on a first playthrough. If playing on a replay, then consider the infinite submachine gun, flamethrower, or Heather Beam/Sexy Beam (if available). However, it is not advised to use extra weapons if the player is attempting a 10 Star Ranking as it will decrease the final score. It is possible to defeat this boss with a melee weapon like the knife or pipe. However, the pipe has the benefit of being able to stun the Split Worm, and if the player uses proper timing to guard, they can defeat it.
In The Arcade, it keeps jumping in and out of the bloody waters, lunging at the player or emitting a swarm of Tremers to Eric and Tina. Like its first appearance from Silent Hill 3, the flesh inside its thick outer is its weak point. It must be killed quickly to save Ryan, or Eric and Tina will be thrown into the lake.
The Split Worm is patterned after the Split Head creature that appears in the first game. It is also the first boss of the game, further mirroring the Split Head. The Night Flutter and Wormhead also had worm imagery, and it may reflect Alessa Gillespie's fear of worms. The Split Worm also mirrors the Twinfeeler from the first game, being a worm-like creature fought in a shopping mall.
It could represent Heather giving birth to God in a more vulgar aspect, with the worm's split opening symbolizing a vaginal cavity and the worm's "face" referencing God.
The boss may also seem to resemble a phallic device or symbolize a lone sperm, which is reinforced by the various cavities that the Split Worm enters and exits throughout the battle, something that could be an allusion to coitus. The teeth in the Split Worm's mouth may also contribute to this idea, and could possibly reference the myth of vagina dentata. This could point to Heather's possible reservations or fear of sex in general.
Yet one more possible understanding of the Split Worm's symbolism can relate to both pregnancy/childbirth, the reoccurring theme of the game. The Split Worm itself bears physical traits agreeable to the situation of maternity and a child's bearing. The outer, protective "shell" of the Split Worm can austerely represent the safety of being cradled within a mother's womb, as it is completely unharmed by any of Heather's attacks aimed towards its exterior. The skin around the head opening up to reveal another form hiding within could also point to this interpretation. Further, the moonstone door leading to the Split Worm contains a poem that is a clear reference to childbirth, and the moonstone itself may symbolize a female ovum or egg.
As for The Arcade, it may represent the less desirable effects of Hanna's death, as worms are classified as decomposers.
- Defeating the Split Worm in under two minutes in the Silent Hill HD Collection awards the trophy/achievement "Pest Control".
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