Restless Homecoming

#5 Try not to call death, do it yourself![SPOILERS]

The following article contains strong spoilers, revealing the endig of Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams and Silent Hill: Homecoming, plus more information about the plot. Read it at your own risk

One of the greatest thing that Silent Hill series had to offer, and still does, are the plots, usually full of mystery and the best exemple for that is Silent Hill 2, this second title has James as protagonist ( the one we’ve been talking about) who recieves a strange letter from his DEAD wife, asking him to meet her in their special place, that would be the haunted town of Silent Hill. James followed the trace of his wife to Silent Hill and he met mysterious characters who led him to the final judgement, where he finds the truth behind the death of his wife and all his delusions. In the final moment, James realizes that he killed Mary, the person he was looking for in the hell of Silent Hill town. He never admitted that, and somehow he repressed his memories that took him to the ultimate sacrifice. Quite original story uh?

Now… let’s talk about Silent Hill Homecoming…
Our protagonist is Alex Shepherd (as you may remember, we’ve been talking about him!) and he arrives to his Hometown and find out that things aren’t right and his brother is missing. What comes next is pretty obvious! Alex decides to look for his brother, and he takes him to Silent Hill…
There isn’t much t say about Alex’s journey… except the fact that in the final moment of the game, he… finds out that his brother was dead and he was the one who killed him… ” He never admitted that, and somehow he repressed this memories that took him to the ultimate sacrifice. Quite original story uh?” – No! Not at all… This time this isn’t just coincidence… Homecoming works as a set of scraps, taking STRONG “inspirations” from the Movie (when we talk about the ambient and atmosphere) and from Silent Hill 2 (when we talk about all the rest!). It’s a fact that this doesn’t work bad at all in this game but what is original is always better…

I wonder how it would be if James and Alex met on Silent Hill… I have two options:
- They would become best friends
- Alex offers himself to look for Mary… it would be the exact same thing for him! Alex would meet the same characters but with different names, he would fight with the same monsters but with different names and the most important thing… in the end he’d find the exact same truth…

#4 It’s not just fashion

One of the most important items we can find around Silent Hill is the flashlight, and in James’ adventure in this dark town, we’ve found that object in a very peculiar place. The flashlight was placed in a mannequin containing Mary’s clothes. This had a special meaning and we perfectly got it. The mannequin was there to ressemble James’ dead wife. (image A bellow)
In Silent Hill Homecoming, another mannequin is used with the exact same function: ressemble someone important to the protagonist. You can experience this at the first time you acess Alex’s house basement. There’s a curtain blocking the path to Adam’s secret room, and if you see carefully (before cutting the fabric – images 2 and 3 bellow) you’ll be able to see Adam (Alex’s dad) standing on the other side. Once you cut the fabric, he disappears and you can only see a mannequin standing in the exact same place (image 1 bellow).

Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. All we know is that those  mannequins are key-elements from both of these two games, as well as it happens on other titles of the franchise – The mannequins seem to be one of the best ways to inflict horror on the players!

#3 Elle’s fate

In Silent Hill we got used to have the company of a female character that follow us through the Hell we encounter. The first woman that followed the protagonist in his nightmare was Maria,  in Silent Hill 2. Maria was one of the best characters of the series, so years later, in Silent Hill 4: The Room, another female company was introduced: Eileen Galvin.
After Eileen, another female appeared to follow the protagonist. Elle Holloway, in Homecoming. However this new female character seems to be specially similar to Maria from Silent Hill 2. Elle occupies a similar role very close to the Silent Hill 2 Antagonist, though she is a more linear character.

”Elle Holloway is a character in Silent Hill: Homecoming. She is an old school friend of Alex Shepherd and the daughter of Margaret Holloway. She survives the initial attacks on their hometown of Shepherd’s Glen, and on occasion succeeds in meeting up with Alex on his journey, becoming similar in her overall role as Maria’s was to James Sunderland. ”

Source: Silent Hill Wiki

Just like Maria, Elle almost dies in multiple occasions,  appearing on Alex’s way unexpectedly. Her relation with the protagonist seems to be more than just an old friendship.

1st case: Meeting Elle

Alex first meets Elle near the Police Station in Shepherd’s Glen. She’s distracted stapling fliers to the missing persons board.  (Just like Maria was distracted in Rosewater Park)

Elle was surprised to see her old friend back and quickly hugs him. They  start a conversation about what’s happening aroun Shepherd’s Glen and the player is able to experience a mixture of feelings that really ressembles the scene of James meeting Maria in Rosewater Park where he confuses her with Mary, his dead wife. One of the differences is the fact that Elle doesn’t follow Alex imediatly after their meeting, while Maria offers herself to go with James.

2nd Case: Elle vs Siam

Just like Maria, Elle’s life is in danger multiple times. The first time is in the Police Station, where she’s waiting for Alex in a car. When he was almost reaching the place where Elle was, a Siam appears an throws away the car with the girl inside. While fighting the creature, we’re able to see Elle lying on the car. However she gets out after Alex defeats the Siam. It’s surprising how she survived without a scratch to the crash.
It’s also important to refere Alex’s reaction to the Monster attacking the car with Elle inside. It really ressembles James’s reaction when he sees Maria dying, on Lakeview Hotel.

3rd Case: Blood on the Sewers

After the car crash with the Siam, Alex and Elle escape to the Sewers, where she first starts following the protagonist. Elle is a crucial help for Alex, specially to turn the valves to open gates. However, on one occasion they get separated and we can only hear Elle screaming while we also hear a monster groaning. When we finally can acess the other side of the gate where Elle disappeared, we can only see a puddle of blood, surrounding her Walki-Talkie. There’s no explanation for that blood, actually Alex thinks she’s dead, just like James thinks after similar scenes of Maria dying .

4th Case: ”Walking Dead?”

After seeing Elle’s blood, Alex, after some time, finds her alive outside his house. This clearly ressembles the scene when James, after losing Maria on her Hospital room, finds her alive in the basement. They actually say the EXACTLY same think, as you can comprove in the images above. They meet each other and they quickly return to their journey, where once again they’ll be separated by fate.

5th case: Cruise to Silent Hill

 After meeting Elle, Alex goes with her and Wheeler to Silent Hill in a Police boat. While he and Elle have a nice chat about their lives, they are sudennly surprised by Order Soldiers who kidnap Alex’s friends while the protagonis falls on Toluca Lake.
Once again Elle is gone, and in my opinion this scene really makes me remember the one where James and Maria run to the elevator on the Hospital.
Alex sees Elle being taken away and he can’t do anything at all to stop the soldiers, he sees her suffering, trying to resist to the kidnappers. Just like James sees Maria being taken away (or killed) by the Pyramid Head. Here the Silent Hill 2 protagonist can’t do anything to stop it neither.

6th case: ”Jail Time”

After losing Wheeler and Elle, Alex wakes up in Silent Hill and he quickly understands that his friends are still alive and he tries to rescue them. First was Wheeler – everything okay with that. After that he went rescue Elle who was being threatened by Curtis with a chainsaw.

This was the last time Alex had to save Elle’s life, and maybe it was the hardest one. When he accesses the room where Curtis is, an the protagonists quickly sees Elle behind bars… BEHIND BARS? Yep, just like Maria. This might doesn’t mean anything but I found interesting the fact of seeing Elle tied on a chair, specially when she’s behind bars, just like it happened to Maria in Silent Hill 2. That’s okay, she wasn’t tied, and she wasn’t being killed by a weird guy, but the similarities are unquestionable…

Conclusion …

With all the facts above, we can easily conclude that both os these characters, Elle and Maria, are essential to our protagonists. Not only because they are similar but also because they like to help when there’s something wrong (help is always welcome!). And also they like to give headaches to James and Alex. Anyway, their way through the nightmare is really similar. They both almost die multiple times, and they both trigger feelings in the protagonists.
In fact the similarity of Elle and Maria that I found the most disturbing was the one in the 4th case, where James and Alex have the exactly same reaction. As well as the 3rd case where we find lots of blood and Elle’s Walki-talkie, this one makes a summary of what we’ve been talking about. How could someone survive after losing so much blood?! Was it Elle’s blood actually? – Answer’s we’ll never get, just like questions we’ve made when we saw Maria dying multiple times and we couldn’t get the respective answers in the exact moment…

#2 – The creatures

Not only, James and Alex’s style is identical but also the monsters share similarities. These hellish creatures, supposed to materialize the protagonist mind, fear and so on, take lots of inspiration from Silent Hill 2, on Homecoming. A nice exemple to start with is ”The Siam”

- The Siam (2. Image below)  highly ressembles ”Mandarin” (1. image below) from Silent Hill 2, however it resembles even more  ”The Closer” (3. Image below)  from Silent Hill 3, who was highly inspired on the refered ‘Mandarin’ (1).
But ‘The Siam’  not only ressembles these creatures (regarding the shape)  but it is also a giant reference to James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2.  When you look at the monster you can, almost immediatly, recognize a male shape with a woman tied on his back, suffering. It represents James relation with Mary, actually when dead, you can see the woman’s face and it actually has an expression similar to Marry/Maria (specially the Mary’s Boss). Plus when you attack this creature, the woman tends to yell showing distress. All this theory is confirmed when you first kill one of these creatures (To save Elle), you recieve an achievement named: ”Shades of James”.

- Moving forward, to the next Silent Hill 2 reference/similarity on Silent Hill Homecoming, we must talk about the cages (Image 4 and 5 below) we can find on the ”Hell Descent” Level. In order to upgrade one of the weapons, we need to acess a specific area where we can see cages with something inside, something that actually look like corpses. It clearly ressembles ”Flesh Lips” (Image A and B) from Silent Hill 2, as well as it also ressembles the corpses near Pyramid Head on ”Misty Day, Remains of the Judgement” painting.
These cages aren’t creatures, at least they don’t attack. When you first acess this area and get the upgraded weapon they seem immobilized, however, when you’re leaving, one of the things inside one of the cages actually moves and screams, meaning that it’s actually a corpse, therefore an high reference to the ”Flesh Lips” that are actually another version of the corpses behind Pyramid Head (on the painting)

”Misty day, remains of the judgement”

 - One of the most famous Silent Hill 2 creatures were the Lying Figures (Image 7 below), the first monster that James Sunderland encounters in Silent Hill.

Trapped in what appears to be straitjackets made from their own flesh, they attack by spewing a spray of poisonous mist from an opening in their chest. They are slow while standing upright, however, when knocked down, they can easily hit James Sunderland by skittering very quickly along the ground, easily outrunning the player. When moving along the ground they make a high pitched noise that sounds like the scraping of metal against cement. They also appear to have platform shoes hidden underneath their flesh.

Source: Silent Hill Wiki

This armless creature, with a weird shape and disgusting look appeared again seven years later, on Silent Hill Homecoming, this time with a new name (Smog - image 6  below).

Smogs are difficult to deal with due to their danger at both long and short range and their high amount of stamina. They attack by spewing their black, gaseous breath at Alex Shepherd, in order to both deal damage and attempt to stun him. They make a labored breathing and almost burping sound when attacking, which hints at how Joshua died. At close range, they can attack by swatting him with their opening rib cages. The easiest way to deal with a Smog is to shoot when their lungs are exposed, typically before they’re about to exhale their noxious breath.

Source: Silent Hill Wiki

Their similarities are unequivocal, same shape, same movements and same attack. However the only difference between these two monsters is the fact that you actually need a strategy to defeat Smog, the most eficient weapon is a fire gun, because it becomes very hard to kill these creatures with an axe or pipe. A good shot straight on their lugs, when they expose them, is the greatest strategy. When we encounter a Lying Figure, we can easily kill them with any kind of weapon.

- Dogs are an element that appear in Silent Hill alot. First on Silent Hill 1, following Silent Hill 3 and 4. However Homecoming Dogs seem to be special, they are not only a reference to Adam Shepherd but it’s, more than anything else, a reference to Eddie Dombrowski (image C – Below).

Eddie was drawn to Silent Hill by his deeply troubled past and feelings of guilt. Not much is known about Eddie’s life before his arrival in Silent Hill, aside from the fact he worked at a gas station. Due to his obesity, Eddie had been bullied and verbally abused all his life, until his repressed anger began to manifest itself in the form of violent outbursts.

Source: Silent Hill Wiki

Eddie admitted to James that he shot and killed a dog, and curiously, when you first encounter a Feral (image 8  Below) and defeat it, you’ll get an achievement named: ”Eddie’s Legacy”. Another reference to Silent Hill 2.

- Finally but not least is The Pyramid Head (image D below), the most emblematic monster from all Silent Hill series, made another appearence on Homecoming. Its version on the 5th Silent Hill installment is identical to the one seen in the Movie, however it’s still Pyramid Head, now with a new name: The Bogeyman (image 9 below) and it’s role is also identical to Silent Hill 2, the only difference is that Alex Shepherd NEVER fights this creature, and the creature itself don’t actually want to kill or hurt the protagonist.

#1 – The Protagonists

The similarities of Silent Hill 2 and Homecoming clearly start with the main characters. Two different men but same style…

Back in 2001, James Sunderland was the protagonist of one of the best games of all time – Silent Hill 2 .
‘When James arrives at the town (Silent Hill), he becomes ensnared in a series of bizarre and nightmarish events which force him to question his sanity, memory and personality. ‘

James Sunderland has arrived in the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his wife, Mary, despite the fact that she had died from an illness three years ago. The letter states that Mary is waiting for James in their “special place”, which confuses James, as the whole town of Silent Hill was their “special place”.

Source: Silent Hill Wiki

Our protagonist was an ordinary blonde guy, looking for answers. His emblematic clothes were ordinary as well – The green jacket, gray shirt /black undershirt, Jeans and boots. However is trade mark was specially his green jacket, with some emblems on it, being the most obvious the american flag.  (1. - Image below)

About seven years later, it was Alex’s turn to experience the horrors of Silent Hill, on his Homecoming. The new protagonist arrives at his Hometown  (Shepherd’s Glen) and he also become ensnared in a series of bizare and nightmarish events.

Alex Shepherd is a player character and protagonist of Silent Hill: Homecoming. Alex, who believed himself to be a soldier, comes home to find his father and later his brother Joshua have disappeared and his mother has gone into a catatonic state. Alex begins to search for his brother, leading him through Silent Hill and the new town of Shepherd’s Glen.

Source: Silent Hill Wiki

So, once we described James Sunderland, we can talk about Alex now. He’s another ordinary man, not so ordinary as the other protagonists thanks to his special defensive skills he supposedly learned while in the army. His clothes make reference to the Army as well, however there are many similarities with James’ outfit, such as the Jacket. It’s okay that they have different colors, and one is open and the other closed, but we cannot deny that both have the same style, specially when we talk about the emblems on Alex’s jacket… he also has an American flag on it, and a few others. (2. – Image below) , and he also has 4 pockets, just like James and both of them have shoulders attachements. After these particularities with their jackets, we can’t avoid to refere that both use jeans and boots, plus the flashlight, in the exact same pocket of the jacket… coincidence? Maybe… Maybe not…