Silent Hill 2 Retrospective, Part 1-Synopsis

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(Content warning: this game deals very, very heavily with themes of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as suicide, illness, and loss. If these topics are triggering to you, you might want to sit this one out.)

If you recall, a while back I wrote a series of posts about one of my favorite games, Silent Hill. I figured that now is a good time take a crack at that game’s sequel, 2001’s appropriately titled Silent Hill 2.

So, to kick this off, I’m going to go over the game’s plot. I highly recommend playing the game if you’re able, as it is something best experienced first hand. Otherwise, by all means, read on.

We begin with the game’s protagonist, James Sunderland, standing in front of a mirror in a pretty grody-looking rest stop. He stares at himself for a moment, does this weird motion where he briefly waves his hand in front of his face, and takes a deep breath.

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He wonders if someone named Mary is in the town, before exiting the restroom and walking to an overlook. As he’s doing this, we hear a woman’s voice reading a letter:

In my restless dreams, I see that town. Silent Hill. You promised you’d take me there again someday, but you never did. Well, I’m alone there now, in our ‘special place.’ Waiting for you…

James then explains in voice over that Mary is his wife, and she sent him the above letter. One small issue, though: Mary died of an unspecified illness three years prior. He knows this doesn’t make sense, but he’s so grief-stricken that he doesn’t really care; any chance that he could be reunited with her is enough.

James muses a bit on what Mary meant by their “special place,” and concludes she means a park near the lake. With a destination in mind but the road into town blocked off, James sets off on foot down a forest trail.

After a very long walk, he comes to a cemetery, where he encounters a young woman looking at one of the grave markers.

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She jumps when he approaches, and James apologizes for that before asking her for directions. She tells him that there’s really only the one road into town, then warns him that there’s something “wrong” with the town.

James assures her he’ll be careful, and she rather defensively tells her that she’s not lying. James believes her, but tells her that he’s going into town anyway. She asks why, and James responds that he’s looking for someone important to him. The girl tells him that she’s looking for her mother, adding that she thought her brother and father would be there, but that she can’t find them.

James tells her that he hopes she finds her family. She returns the sentiment, and James continues on his way into town.

He doesn’t get too far into town before coming across a large blood smear in the middle of the street, and a figure shambling off in the distance.

Here, we encounter two things: a radio blaring static, and the figure James was following. Which turns out to be a monster.

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James beats it to death with a plank, then pokes it with said plank while wondering what the creature he just bludgeoned is, coming to the conclusion that it’s not human.

He turns to leave, then remembers that he picked up a radio. He tries to tune it, but only gets static interspersed with a barely-audible woman’s voice. It is clearly not functioning, but James decides to take it with him just in case. If you know the first game, you’ll know it does the same thing here: it blares static when monsters are nearby.

Thus armed with his monster-detecting device, James follows a trail of notes that eventually lead him to an apparently abandoned apartment building.

One of the first things to note about the building is a room on the second floor where James gets another series staple, a flashlight. He removes the light from a mannequin wearing a familiar outfit.

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Further exploration leads to a room with a chair in front of a TV, as well as a grandfather clock nailed to the floor. Just past the room the rest of the hallway is blocked off by bars. Note: the clock hides a secret passage and needs to be un-nailed to proceed.

On the third floor are some bars blocking the way, with a key on the other side just within reach. James tries the key, but a little girl runs up, stomps on his hand, and then kicks the key away. He calls after her, but she runs away, laughing.

Returning to the second floor, James hears a scream coming from the clock room.  He goes to investigate, and here we get our first glance of the giant monster that will stalk James throughout the game: the aptly named Pyramid Head.

James enters the room to now find that the TV is on, tuned to static, and the previously empty chair now has an extremely grisly occupant.

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Also of note is a key on a nearby bookshelf, which leads to another apartment, this one filled with butterflies. There’s a hole in the bedroom wall, which seems to contain something. Keep an eye on this; holes become a running motif throughout the game. James sticks his hand in the hole, but pulls it out again sharply, as if something brushed up against it. He tries again, and comes back with a key to the grandfather clock, allowing him to open the face and solve the puzzle.

James is now able to access the parts of the third floor that he wasn’t able to before, granting him the key to the fire escape. He also ducks into another apartment there and sees Pyramid Head doing…something to a pair of monsters.

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James hides in a closet just as the being starts to move towards him then as Pyramid Head passes, he unloads on the monster with a gun obtained earlier in the level. It doesn’t seem to be doing much damage, but does \drive the creature off for the time being. It’s here that James locates a key to the courtyard, which is his next destination.

After going into the empty pool to get one of three coins required to complete a puzzle later on, James enters a nearby apartment. This contains two things: a corpse shoved into a refrigerator, and the persistent sound of someone puking. James enters the bathroom to find our vomiter, who tells James he “didn’t do it.”

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This confuses James, and our heaving friend clarifies that the fridge corpse was already dead when he arrived. The two exchange names, and we learn the other guy’s name is Eddie. James asks about the dead guy in the kitchen, which prompts another round of denials from Eddie, which then prompts James to ask if he knows about that “red pyramid thing.”

Eddie, of course, has no clue what the hell James is talking about and tells him this, but  he did see”weird-looking monsters,” which is why he’s hiding in the bathroom. James muses that the whole town is unsafe, and Eddie attempts to explain why he’s there but stops himself.

James replies, “You too, huh? Something just brought you here, right?” He then tells Eddie that it’s probably a good idea to get out of dodge, adding that he’ll leave when he’s finished when Eddie asks him what he plans to do. The two tell each other to be careful, Eddie goes back to his retching, and James takes his leave.

A bit more exploration leads James to the fire escape, which is no longer there. However, he is able to cross to the building next door through the open window.

While there, James eventually comes across a familiar face: the young woman he met in the cemetery, laying in front of a wall-sized mirror looking very intently at a butcher’s knife in her hand.

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She tiredly acknowledges his presence, and the two formally introduce themselves. It’s here that we learn her name is Angela. James proceeds to try and talk her down from what she’s clearly thinking of doing with that knife, telling her “there’s always another way.”

Angela sarcastically responds, “Really,” before pointing out that James is “the same” as her, and that they both deserve what’s coming to them.  James vehemently denies that he and Angela have anything in common.

She mockingly asks him if he’s afraid, then immediately apologizes. James says it’s all right, and asks her if she’s found her mother yet. Angela despairingly responds that she hasn’t.

He thinks for a moment, then asks if her mother used to live in this building. Angela says that she doesn’t know, and James says, “So all you know is that she lived in this town?”

This surprises Angela, who sits up and asks him how he knows that. James  he deduced this because Angela’s looking for her here, then asks if he’s right.

Angela doesn’t answer, instead saying she’s tired. James then asks her why she’s here, and Angela deflects by asking James if he’s found who he was looking for.

James says he hasn’t, and shows Angela Mary’s picture, explaining that she’s his wife. Angela apologizes for not being much help, and James explains that he doesn’t even know why he’s here since Mary’s, y’know, deceased. Angela’s basically, “what,” and James assures her that he doesn’t think he’s crazy. You know, as all totally non-crazy people do.

Angela gets up, suddenly in a hurry to leave. James asks if he wants him accompany her, because monsters, but Angela declines, citing that she’d slow him down. James then asks about the knife in her hand.

Angela asks James to hold on to it for her since she “isn’t sure what [she] might do” if she keeps it. James agrees, and then moves to take the knife from her.

She reacts to this motion by brandishing the knife at him and screaming.

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James backs off, and Angela apologizes again, saying she’s “been bad” before leaving the knife on a nearby end table and leaving.

After the player regains control of James, they can examine a photograph of a family on the floor: a mother, father, son, and daughter. The photograph is torn in half, mother and daughter on one side, father and son on the other.

James eventually comes across a key used to unlock the door to a stairwell. It’s here that we see another familiar face. Or, rather, helmet. Yup, it’s our good friend Pyramid Head, doing something…else to a monster.

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James tries open the door but, surprise, it’s locked. The creature starts to move towards him, and we get our first boss fight. Well, sort of. It’s actually on a timer, so the player basically just has to avoid him until some sirens go off. At this point, Pyramid Head goes down the flooded stairwell, and the water drains.

The stairwell leads to a door, which in turn leads to the alley behind the building. Here, James comes across the young girl he encountered earlier, sitting on a graffiti-covered wall.

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He recognizes her from before, then asks what she’s doing here. She doesn’t seem keen to answer, and, in fact, holds a high level of antipathy towards him. Which is odd, considering that they just met.

Anyway, James notices that she has a letter and asks her about it. She tells him that it’s none of his business, adding “You never loved Mary anyway!” She runs off, and James calls after her, asking why she knows Mary’s name.

Nothing more to do now, James continues on to Rosewater Park. It’s here that he encounters a woman who bears a strong resemblance to Mary. He calls out to her, but realizes that she’s not Mary when she turns around.

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She asks him if she looks like his girlfriend, and James explains that she’s almost identical to his deceased wife, barring her hairstyle and clothing.

She tells him her name is Maria, and says, “I don’t look like a ghost, do I?” She then tries to prove she isn’t by grabbing James’s hand and, apparently, putting it on her boob. James snatches it back, and confirms to himself that she isn’t his wife. He apologizes for the confusion, then turns to leave.

Maria asks where he’s going. He says that he’s going to look for Mary, and asks if she’s seen her. Maria is confused, since he just told her Mary’s dead, and James explains the whole thing about the letter.

Maria says that she hasn’t seen her, and asks James if this was their only “special place” in town. James thinks for a moment, and says she might have meant the hotel they stayed in. Maria responds, “So, the hotel was your ‘special place’ huh? I bet it was.”

James does not take  very well, and turns to leave again. Maria tells him that she was “just joking,” before telling him he’s going in the wrong direction. James starts off, and Maria follows. Surprised, he asks if she’s planning on going with him, and Maria asks if he was just going to leave her there, considering the local abominations.

Maria adds, “I look like Mary, don’t I? You loved her, right?” Her tone then changes from pleading to vindictive: “Or maybe…you hated her.”

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James responds, “Don’t be ridiculous,” and grudgingly allows Maria to accompany him.

The two go down the road Maria pointed out earlier, only to find that it’s blocked off. One of the many strangely James-esque corpses littering the town points them towards a nearby bowling alley.

They arrive, and Maria says that she’s going to stay because as she hates the sport. James reminds her that they’re not there for a game, and Maria tells him to come back soon.

Inside the alley, James overhears a snippet of conversation between Eddie and the little girl from earlier, while Eddie eats a pizza. She asks him, “So, what’d you do? Robbery? Murder?”

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Eddie tells her that he didn’t do anything like that, and she calls him a “gutless fatso,” adding he told her that the cops were looking for him.

Eddie admits that he doesn’t know if the cops are after him or not, just that he got scared and ran away from something. She asks him why he doesn’t just apologize if he did something wrong, and Eddie responds, “It’s no good. They wouldn’t listen. Nobody will ever forgive me.”

As James enters the room, Eddie asks her if she’s found Mary yet.

James see Eddie still eating his pizza, but doesn’t see Laura. James asks Eddie if he’s here alone, and Eddie says that he’s not. A green blowing ball rolls towards them as the little girl unlocks the door and leaves.

James calls after her to wait, and tries to get Eddie to help him go after her. Eddie asks why, and here we learn that her name is Laura. And here we get the greatest line in the series: James asks Eddie, “This town is full of monsters! How can you sit there and eat pizza?!”

Just A+ dialog right there. Worthy of the Bard himself.

Anyway, Eddie responds that Laura told him that she’s fine, and that she told him he’d just slow her down. James walks off in disgust, and exits through the same door Laura just went through.

Maria walks  back to the entrance, out of breath. James asks her if a little girl came by, and Maria says she ran after Laura but Laura was too quick.

They head in the direction Laura headed, eventually coming to what appears to be a dead end. Maria points and says that Laura went through a small gap between 2 buildings. James, realizing that there’s no way an adult would be able to squeeze through, asks Maria if there’s a way around.

Maria points out a nearby door, saying that they should be able to go through that building. They walk over, and find the door is, unfortunately, locked. Not to worry, though, because Maria has the keys for some reason. One of them is apparently stuffed in her bra.

They enter the building and it turns out to be a strip club. Because why not.

Anyway, the two then leave the strip club and see Laura enter a nearby hospital, and this makes up the next level of the game: Brookhaven Hospital.

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They follow her inside, and explore, encountering puzzles and finding memos about the inmates. I should probably mention that it’s a mental hospital. Because of course it is.

They stop in one of the rooms on the third floor, when Maria asks James to wait. She tells him that she’s a bit tired, taking out a bottle of pills. She assures him that she just has a hangover. She starts to stand, but James puts a hand on her shoulder and tells her that she should rest, and that he’ll be back as soon as he’s found Laura.

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James then heads off alone for a while, eventually making his way to the roof. There’s not really much up here (unless the player is looking to get a specific ending), but as he turns to leave, he hears a familiar scraping sound.

So, Pyramid Head shows up, then knocks him off the roof into the third floor solitary cells. This turns out to be a good thing, though, since the wall of the cell he landed in contains a code that’s necessary to progress.

Some more exploration leads James to a section of the first floor. Here, in another of the patient rooms, he finds Laura, playing with some teddy bears.

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He calls her, and Laura seems surprised that he knows her name. He explains that Eddie told her, and she calls him a “big fat blabbermouth.”

James asks her how she knows Mary. Laura explains that the two had met last year, while they were both in the hospital. This, you will note, does not mesh with the timeline of event James gave earlier.

James calls her a liar. Laura steps away from him, hurt and angry, and he tries to explain that Mary was already dead by then. He thinks better of it, and offers a simple apology before suggesting they leave. She goes with him, and he’s surprised that she’s unharmed.  Laura seems confused by this and asks why she wouldn’t be.

Later, as the two are going down the hallway, Laura stops him, pulling on his arm. She tells him that she needs to go back and grab something. James is reluctant to let her go, but relents when she tells him it’s a letter from Mary.

Laura then leads James to one of the exam rooms.

Which she then  locks him inside.

James starts knocking on the door, asking Laura what she thinks she’s doing, but then notices that he’s not alone in the room

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Laura laughs about tricking him, and James tensely tells her to open the door. Due to their earlier altercation, she’s not exactly inclined to do this. James calls her a “snotty little brat,” to which she responds by calling him a “fartface” and running away.

Locked in, he has no choice but to fight three monsters hanging from the ceiling.

The monsters vanquished, the player is then treated to an odd scene: the camera tilts upward, and we’re looking at a ceiling as if being pushed on a gurney. We hear Mary calling for James. The camera tilts again and James now finds himself in the hospital’s courtyard.

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James is now in the otherworld hospital, which is more dilapidated than the regular hospital. And since the hospital was already pretty dilapidated, that’s saying a lot.

James sets to exploring, eventually coming across the main puzzle: a door with a painting of a woman, with arms that are actually sculpted onto it. In order to proceed, the player must find two rings and place them on her hands.

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Related, he also locates a refrigerator, but the door appears to be stuck, so he can’t open it by himself.

A note eventually leads James to a room in the basement, containing a bookcase with what appear to be bloody hand prints on it. He moves the case to reveal a ladder to a secret room. He’s just about to go down the ladder when Maria walks in.

At first James is ecstatic to hear her voice, thinking that she’s Mary, and is visibly disappointed to find that it’s Maria. He tells her, “Anyway, I’m glad you’re alive.” This turns out to be the wrong thing to say, because Maria absolutely loses it. 

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She screams at him that she was almost killed, and asks why he didn’t come to her rescue, then goes from angry to desperate, begging him to stay with her. She then asks about Laura. He tells her that he did find her, but that she ran away. Maria tearfully tells James that they have to find her.

James asks  if she knows Laura. Maria admits that she’s never met her before, but that she feels sorry for the girl and for some reason feels like she’s the one who has to protect her.

They head down the ladder to find the first ring, then to the room with the refrigerator. He asks Maria to help him open it, to which she responds, “Come on. You’re supposed to be the big man around here. How’s a little girl like me supposed to help?” She helps anyway, and they retrieve the second ring. Maria remarks that it’s “not very cute,” and tells James he can have it.

Rings in hand, they go to the painted door. It turns out that this leads to a stairwell, which leads to another part of the basement with a winding corridor. They don’t make it very far before the door opens and closes behind them.

Turns out that Pyramid Head followed them down, and is now in pursuit.

Eventually, they come to an elevator at the end of the hallway, which James makes it to first. However, the doors start closing before Maria can make it inside. He tries to pull the door open, but it’s too late: Pyramid Head catches up and impales Maria with a spear, killing her.

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James collapses in grief and rides the elevator up to the hospital’s first floor. Here, he is able to enter the director’s office, where he finds a note and a map directing him to a letter and a wrench, which the note says will direct him to his next destination.

New information in hand, James sees Laura pass by through the window, and decides to try and follow her.

Upon leaving the hospital, he laments not being able to save Maria, and that finding Mary is the only hope he has left.

He goes to the location marked on the map in the hospital, and follows the directions to find a key to the Silent Hill Historical Society. Here, we see a number of paintings, one of which is of a very familiar figure:

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James then comes across a lubriciously long staircase, leading to a new place that’s not on his map. This, in turn, leads to a room with a very deep hole. With no other way forward, he jumps down, finding himself in an area with no apparent exit. However, striking the wall at a certain point reveals a door. James goes through the door and comes across yet another hole, which he, of course, jumps down.

This lands him in the cafeteria of the local prison, where he encounters a somewhat stunned looking Eddie sitting near the door, a revolver in his hand.

See, Eddie has just had a revelation: “Killing a person ain’t no big deal. Just put the gun their their head…pow!”

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James then notices the corpse slumped at a nearby table. He asks Eddie if he killed the guy, and Eddie responds that he was “making fun of [him] with his eyes.” Which, of course, is all kinds of yikes.

James tells Eddie that killing someone just because they looked at him funny is not really a super great thing to do. Eddie does not take this well and asks him why not, as he’s always been passive before when people are dicks to him, adding that “that stupid dog” had it coming too. He notices that he’s freaking James out and backtracks, saying that he was just joking before leaving.

As with the other levels, James goes through the prison solving various puzzles, until he comes across what appears to be an extremely unsanitary morgue. Which, of course, contains another hole. He jumps down, and comes across an elevator which takes him to an area called the Labyrinth. Here, he comes across a prison cell, containing a miraculously alive Maria.

James is, naturally, surprised, and asks her if she was badly hurt. Maria says no, and in fact seems  very confused by this conversation. He reminds her of being stabbed by Pyramid Head, and she responds by asking what he’s talking about. Here see a rather noticeable shift in Maria’s demeanor: she’s dropped the flirtation and mentions a tape Mary and James made in the hotel. She is, in fact, talking to him as though she is Mary.

James asks if he is, indeed, still talking to Maria. She then snaps out of it and says, “I’m not your Mary.” He tries asks again if she’s Maria, and she says, “I am, if you want me to be.”

James just wants to get a straight answer from her. She stands up, and says, “It doesn’t matter who I am, James. I’m here for you.” She touches his face face: “See? I’m real.”

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She then offers him sexual favors if he can manage to find a way to get to her. So, with a new goal in mind, he leaves to do just that.

His continued exploration leads him to a bloody newspaper clipping. The clipping is difficult to read, but is about a murder where the victim, a man, was stabbed several times. After this is a newspaper-covered hallway, where James hears Angela scream, “No, Daddy, please don’t!”from a nearby room. He enters to find a near-catatonic Angela sitting near a TV stand, being menaced by a monster.

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James vanquishes the beast, and goes to see if Angela’s all right. She waves him away, then gets up and kicks the monster several times, before picking up the TV and throwing it on top of it.

James tells her to relax, and she tells him not to boss her around. James tells her that’s not his intention, and Angela responds, “So what do you want, then? Oh, I see. You’re trying to be nice to me, right? I know what you’re up to. It’s always the same. You’re only after one thing.”

James picks up what Angela’s laying down, says  his motives aren’t what she thinks they are, but she doesn’t believe him. She tells him that he could maker her do it anyway, adding that he could “beat me up like he always did.” On that last statement, she falls to the ground sobbing and retching, telling James he only cares about himself and calling him a “disgusting pig.”

James tries to comfort her, but she bats his hand away, telling him not to touch her and that he makes her sick. She stands, and then changes the subject, saying that James told her Mary is dead. James confirms this, and adds that she died because of her illness. Angela responds, “Liar! I know about you. You didn’t want her around anymore. You probably found someone else.”

She leaves, and James scoffs at her accusations.

So, yeah, that exchange should make it pretty clear what Angela’s actual damage is.

At any rate, James continues on, and eventually finds a door that leads to Maria’s cell. Unfortunately, when he gets there, he finds her dead on the cot.

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He laments over her body for a while, and says Mary’s name.

Eventually James leaves, and comes to a room containing a graveyard. Of particular note are three freshly-dug graves each with a headstone bearing a familiar name: Eddie Dombrowski, Angela Orosco, and James Sunderland.

Of course, seeing yet another hole, James jumps into the grave bearing his name. This leads to a corridor, which leads to a giant walk-in freezer.

Here James again encounters Eddie, with yet another corpse nearby. James asks what’s going on, and Eddie answers with a screed:

What does it look like? He always busted my balls. “You fat, disgusting piece of shit! You make me sick!” “Fatass, you’re nothing but a waste of skin!” “You’re so ugly, even your mama dont’ want you!” Well, maybe I am nothing but a fat, disgusting piece of shit. But you know what? It doesn’t matter if you’re smart, dumb, ugly, pretty. It’s all the same once you’re dead! And a corpse can’t laugh. From now on, if anyone makes fun of me, I’ll kill ’em. Just like that.

Eddie turns to go into the next room, James asks Eddie if he’s lost his mind. Eddie takes this extremely poorly, and threatens to kill James. Which leads into a boss battle.

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After exchanging rounds for a few moments, Eddie flees into the next room and James follows. This room is full of very strange-looking carcasses on meat hooks. James looks around for Eddie as the latter asks him if he knows what a lifetime of ridicule does, and admits to two things: shooting and killing a dog, and shooting one of his tormentors in the knee, crippling him.

James asks if he thinks killing people is a-OK. Eddie responds, “Don’t get all holy on me, James. This town called you too. You and me are the same. We’re not like other people. Don’t you get that?”

Eddie then reveals himself and the fight begins anew, with James killing Eddie in self-defense.

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James kneels down beside Eddie for a moment, having a little bit of a breakdown over what just happened. He then wonders, again, if Mary actually died three years ago.

Nothing more here, James leaves, and finds himself on the docks behind the Historical Society.  He jumps in a nearby rowboat and starts rowing towards a lighthouse in the distance, eventually coming to his destination: The Lakeview Hotel. Once inside, he finds a map of the hotel with the room he and Mary stayed in, room 312, marked with the words “Waiting for you…”

Of course,  getting to that destination takes some doing, in this instance solving a puzzle involving placing smaller music boxes into a larger one in order to get a key.

To that end, his first destination is the hotel’s cafe. As he walks in, the piano makes a loud noise, startling him, but he relaxes a bit when he realizes that it’s just Laura, playing with the piano.

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The two converse for a while, and Laura asks if he’s found Mary. He tells her that he hasn’t. Laura then says that she knows Mary’s here, due to a letter that she received from Mary.

James asks her what letter she’s talking about. Laura hands it over to him, and he reads it:

My dearest Laura,

I’m leaving this letter with Rachel to give to you after I’m gone. I’m far away now, in a quiet, beautiful place. Please forgive me for not saying goodbye before I left.

Be well, Laura.

Don’t be too hard on the sisters. And Laura, about James. I know you hate him because you think he isn’t nice to me, but please give him a chance. It’s true he may be a little surly sometimes, and he doesn’t laugh much. But underneath he’s a really sweet person.

Laura…I love you like my very own daughter. If things had worked out differently, I was hoping to adopt you.

Happy birthday, Laura.

Your friend forever, Mary

After James finishes it, he asks Laura how old she is. Laura responds that she’s turned eight the week prior. James realizes that if that’s true, Mary couldn’t have passed away three years ago.

Laura says that Mary told her a lot about their trip, and that Mary really wanted to visit again. She adds that there was another letter, but quickly realizes that she had dropped it somewhere before running away from James again to go look for it.

James continues exploring the hotel, eventually gaining several items including the key to room 312 and the video tape that Maria had mentioned earlier. These items in hand, James makes his way to room 312, which contains a TV hooked up to a VCR.

The video begins innocently enough: it shows Mary gushing about how much she loves the town and how people say that the land it’s on is sacred. She asks James to take her there again before she begins to cough ominously. The tape switches to James coming to Mary in her sickbed. James kisses her on the cheek.

Then he grabs her pillow and places it over her face.

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As the TV switches back to static, Laura walks in and asks if he’s found Mary. James slowly tells her that Mary’s dead, and admits that he’s the one that killed her. Laura responds by screaming at him to give Mary back to her, and hitting him with all her little girl strength.

He says he’s sorry, but Mary’s gone. Laura runs off, and James slumps back into the chair.

The radio goes off, and this time Mary’s voice can be heard clearly. She asks where James is, and if he hates her. Spurred on anew, James leaves the room to find that the hotel is now a lot worse for wear than it was when he entered. Everything around is extremely water damaged and damp, and parts of the hotel are burned.

In the hotel’s reading room, the player can listen to a recorded conversation between James and a doctor about Mary’s condition. It’s here that we learn Mary was diagnosed three years ago, but died much, much later.

Eventually, James comes across a burning staircase, where he meets Angela for the last time.

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At first, she seems to see him as her mother, saying, “Now you’re the only one left. Maybe then…maybe then I can rest.” However, she realizes that she’s talking to James after he pulls away from her.

She apologizes, which seems to be a reflex for her. Then thanks him for saving her from the monster earlier, but that he wishes he hadn’t: “Even Mama said it. I deserved what happened.”

James, to his credit, tells her that she didn’t, but Angela tells him that she’s not worth his sympathy. Then her tone becomes spiteful: “Or maybe you think you can save me. Will you love me? Take care of me? Heal all of my pain?”

James has no response to this, and Angela says, “That’s what I thought,” before asking him for her knife back. James refuses, and Angela responds, “Saving it for yourself?” James protests this, saying he would never kill himself.

Angela tuns and heads up the burning staircase. As if to fill the silence, James comments on how hot it is. Angela responds, “You see it too? For me, it’s always like this,” before continuing

After this, James eventually makes his way to the lobby, where he finds not one, but two Pyramid Heads flanking Maria, who is upside down in a frame-like structure.

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There’s some shouting from both James and Maria, then one of the monsters impales Maria with a spear. James falls to his knees, then tells both monsters that while he needed them to punish him before, now that he knows the truth they’re no longer necessary.

After a brief skirmish, the Pyramid Heads move to the center of the room, where they impale themselves. Each is holding an egg-shaped stone, one red and one rust colored. These stones are needed to unlock the doors leading to a long corridor.

Going down the corridor, the player hears a conversation between Mary and James:

At the end of the corridor, James comes across a stairwell leading to the roof. It’s here where the endings branch off.

There are three regular endings:

Maria: This ending is obtained by spending as much time with Maria as possible, keeping her from harm, and not inspecting the letter and photo in James’s inventory. In this ending, James finds Mary sitting on a bed on the roof. He apologizes for taking so long to get there, and Mary asks if she really wanted to see him. He says that yes, he did, and Mary says that’s not true, because he killed her.

James tells her that he couldn’t stand watching her suffer anymore, and Mary tells him not to make excuses, that she knows she was so burdensome that James ended up hating her. James admits that Mary’s not entirely wrong, and he was tired. Mary says that she can’t forgive James and transforms into a monster.

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After the ensuing battle the scene cuts to James at the park, standing where he first met Maria. Maria approaches him, asking if he killed Mary again. James admits that he did, then tells her that he wants her to stay with him.

The two leave, eventually coming to the rest stop from the very beginning of the game. Maria starts coughing, and James  tells her they should do something about that as the game ends.

In Water: This ending is obtained by reading the diary on the hospital roof, listening to the recording in the hotel, and listening to the whole conversation in the hallway on the way to the final boss. Taking large amounts of damage, waiting as long as possible to heal, and examining Angela’s knife also influence this ending.

Upon reaching the hotel roof, James finds Mary standing by a window. He calls out to her, but quickly realizes that he’s actually talking to Maria disguised as Mary. She tells him he’s wrong again, and reminds him that he killed Mary.

James says that he’s done with her, and Mary says, “What do you mean? But I can be yours. I’ll never yell at you, or make you feel bad. That’s what you wanted.”

James tells her that she’s not Mary, and that Mary’s all he really wanted. Maria tells James that he won’t let him leave her, before transforming into a monster and attacking.

After the fight is over, James finds himself in Mary’s room, sitting next to her bed. He asks her to forgive him, and she reminds him that she told him that she wanted to die. James starts saying that’s why he killed her, but then remembers that Mary also was afraid to die and that part of him resented her.

Mary tells James that he’s suffered enough, before she starts coughing profusely. She tries to say something else, but dies before she can. James sits for a moment, before picking up her body and walking away.

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We then get a blank screen, with James in voice over  talking about how he can’t go on without Mary. Through this, we hear James start the car, then gun the engine before the scene shifts to an underwater view.

Leave: This is the ending that most people get on their first playthrough. Inspecting the photo and letter, listening to the entire conversation in the hallway, healing when James is hurt, and generally remaining focused on the goal are the keys to this ending.

This ending plays out very similarly to the In Water ending, with James finding Maria on the hotel roof. James tells Maria that he doesn’t need her anymore, and Maria responds with similar dialog, but her tone is far more desperate. James tells her that it’s over, and Maria responds that James deserves to die before transforming.

The after battle scene is also similar to the one in In Water, but James gets more closure in this ending because Mary doesn’t die before she imparts her final words. In this ending, Mary closes by telling James to move on with his life. The scene then cuts to Laura walking through the cemetery, with James following.

Each of these endings include Mary, in voice over, reading the entirety of the letter that prompted James to come to Silent Hill:

There is another ending, the Rebirth ending, that can only be obtained through a new game plus. This one requires obtaining certain items scattered throughout the town: the white chrism, obsidian goblet, Book of Lost Memories, and Crimson Tome.

The beginning of this ending plays out similarly to In Water and Leave, with James encountering Maria on the roof. In this one, James tells Maria that he’s finished with her, and Maria responds with the line about her being what he wanted, adding that Mary’s not coming back. James tells her he can’t go on without Mary, and Maria mocks him before transforming.

After the fight, the scene shifts to James rowing to an island with Mary’s corpse, apparently going to perform a ritual to try and resurrect her. We don’t see the results, but considering this is a horror game, I doubt that it goes well.

There are also two joke endings. One of them, the aptly titled Dog ending, reveals that a shiba inu named Mira is behind everything. The second, which was not in the original PS2 release of the game but is included in the XBox and PS2 Greatest Hits version, is the UFO ending. This one involves James being abducted by aliens, aided by Harry from the first game.

So, that’s Silent Hill 2, the most beloved game in the franchise, and one of the greatest horror games of all time. Oh, but the train doesn’t stop here, folks. Next time, I’m going to be taking a closer look at the characters the game’s otherworld, and how they all connect to the story.

(So, fun fact: my job is furloughed indefinitely because of the pandemic! Whee! What that means is I have no idea when I’ll be getting my next paycheck. Fortunately, I have Patreon and Ko-Fi, so if you’d like to support the blog, that’s where you’d do it. Thanks!)

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