In Silent Hill 3, Heather Mason finds a briefcase that must be opened in order to progress. The briefcase is found in room M4 of Brookhaven Hospital and contains an instant camera Heather must later use. The puzzle involves a four-digit numerical lock on the briefcase that can be opened using a nearby clue. As soon as Heather enters the room, an alarm clock sounds, directing attention to it. The clock is the clue that must be deciphered to obtain the number needed.
As with other puzzles in Silent Hill 3, the puzzle has different answers and clues depending on the puzzle difficulty chosen. In addition to the puzzle difficulty, this puzzle is one of the few that have randomly generated answers, though the process by which the solution is decoded does not vary. In all instances and difficulties the alarm clock holds the answer to unlocking the attache case. There is also a clue found in the Examining Room that reads:
- "The start time is my key"
further emphasizing the importance of time and the alarm clock.
On easy difficulty, the four-digit number is actually written on the face of the clock, so no numbers need be deciphered. Simply enter in the number and the case will unlock.
On normal difficulty the answer is within the time the alarm clock is set to. Upon turning the alarm off, the clock will be fixed to a certain time. That time must be translated into a four-digit code:
Example: time is set at 11:25
- The code is 1125
If the time is stopped before 10 o'clock, the first digit of the code must be a zero:
Example: time is set at 2:35
- The code is 0235
On hard difficulty, the time the clock is set to is still the answer, however, it must be converted into military time (out of 24 hours). It is assumed that the time is set in the afternoon, so simply add 12 hours to the time set on the alarm clock:
Example: time is set to 4:15
- 4:15 + 12:00 = 16:15
- The code is 1615
In some case the minute hand will be close to an hour (60 minutes) yet the hour hand is pointing directly to a number. In this case, it must be assumed that the minute hand leads, and the hour hand is rounded forward.
Example: minute hand is set to 58 minutes, hour hand is on 4
- The time is 3:58, not 4:58