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On a fog-bound November day in 1918, the Little Baroness, a ship filled with tourists, failed to return to port.
A newspaper article from back then simply says "It most likely sunk for some reason".
Despite an extensive police search, not a single fragment of the ship nor any of the 14 bodies of passengers or crew has ever been recovered to this day.
In November 1918, the sightseeing ship Little Baroness disappeared with all its passengers and crew while crossing Toluca Lake, near the little town of Silent Hill. Despite all the subsequent inquiries, no bodies or shipwrecks were ever found. What no one knows is that Hanna, a poor little Ill Girl, was thrown overboard by her mother for no apparent reason, and the ship's captain tried in vain to save her before... something pulled the ship underwater.
Cut to 75 years later, where Eric, the 21-year-old great-grandson of the captain, his classmate Tina, and some of their college friends arrive at Silent Hill to investigate the occult mysteries behind the town's legends, while Tina pays a visit to Emilie, a young Internet friend of hers who lives there with her father. Emilie looks an awful lot like Hanna. Needless to say, It Got Worse.
Breaking from its Survival Horror roots, Silent Hill: The Arcade is a House of the Dead-style shooter spinoff that, while aimed for people unfamiliar with the other games, still features the series's trademark settings, enemies, music, and Multiple Endings, even making rail shooting scarier than usual.
This game contains examples of:
- And I Must Scream: This is most likely the fate that befell the passengers of the Little Baroness, trapped at the bottom of the lake. Until Eric and Tina intervene, that is.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Pyramid Head. Just because it's an arcade shooter, don't think he'll go down easily.
- Black Knight: Pyramid Head acts as one, this time bent more on destruction than rape. And the guilt he represents does not even belong to the player characters.
- Continuity Nod: Surprisingly enough, the Little Baroness and the ghastly hands of the dead at the bottom of Toluca Lake are all mentioned in Silent Hill 2.
- Creepy Doll: The second main boss is a cross between this and a giant Murderous Mannequin.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Emilie recently lost her mother in a robbery attempt gone awry.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to other light gun rail shooters.
- Lighter and Softer: However, compared to the rest of the Silent Hill games, this isn't as dark, probably containing the happiest ending in the series.
- Demonic Possession: It's implied at one point that Emilie is possessed by Hanna.
- Eldritch Abomination: Hanna is a particularly nasty one.
- Futile Hand Reach: Eric does this in the bad ending when Hanna's arm sinks into the water and fades away before he can save her.
- Killer Rabbit: Robbie the Rabbit costumes begin picking up weapons and attacking in force during the Lakeside Amusement Park level.
- Multiple Endings: Two different types of Good, one Bad, and one UFO. They all depend on how you defeat the final boss as well as whether you were able to save all of the friends you have to try to save throughout the game.
- Nintendo Hard: Monsters travel in packs, they like cheap hits, healing items are rare and don't heal very much, and as in the other games, one hit by Pyramid Head is an almost certain Game Over.
- Nothing Is Scarier: There's an unusual number of long, awkward sections of the game where nothing happens and no monsters are around. And no music, either.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: All of the friends you save, but particularly Bill, the one who gives you your guns, is left at the beginning of the game badly wounded and never heard from again.