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Traipsing Through Silent Hill
Artwork Graciously Provided by the Incredibe Steven Luna

Part Three, or the Death of Mr. Whacky

  Last time, on a very special episode of Traipsing Through Origins, Travis went into a mirror dimension after he murdered a vaguely woman-ish monster that tried to stab him. He also met a man I’ve been referring to as Dr. Skeeves, who is kind of a smarmy dick because he lied to us about Crispy Girl being in the hospital. So our heroic quest is to a) make sure the girl is alright and b) punch Dr. Skeeves square in the dong.

  So, about that mirror dimension: it’s precisely the same layout as the regular dimension, only it has rust_and_blood.png applied to all the surfaces. Also, the music is a lot more loud and industrial, which is kind of a neat touch. The mirror OR doesn’t have much going for it except for a scalpel and a… um… pair of plastic lungs. Travis greedily shoves the obvious key item (somehow) in his vest pocket. Sure? I… suppose that’s…

  Moving on.

  I wander out of the OR to discover that there appears to be another nurse wandering around. In most cases, hammer trumps shambling monster, but instead my beloved weapon breaks over the thing’s face.

  Rest in peace, Mr. Whacky. You were one in a million.

  Regardless of weapons breaking, I bring the nurse down and then step on her to teach her a valuable lesson in dying. The lesson was she needed to do it, and she was my prize student. I have learned two important things about the combat from this: the first is that weapons apparently degrade fairly quickly, which is kind of a neat idea in this kind of game. It de-prioritizes combat and potentially makes it the less desirable way of handling any given situation.

  The second thing I like is that just because Travis is unarmed doesn’t mean he can’t defend himself. As a horrible sociopath craving the blood of his victims trucker, he can swing his meaty arms at any foe in his way. It’s always super frustrating in horror games when the heroes just let some creature start gnawing on their face because they’re not holding a gun. Origins and Resident Evil: Outbreak appeared to be the only games for a long while that agreed with me.

  Back to rusty reality, I begin to feel the call of video game puttering, so I start poking around to see what I can find on this crummy second floor. One room contains a dirty note, that’s just so damn dirty that it had to be censored (with dirt):

“Worry not. ________ _____ ________ _____ _____ _____ ________. I have used the ________ to contain her power. No one will come to her aid. ______ ______ ______ ______ one of the five _______. Hide them. Protect them.

________”

  So, because I am mentally five years old and the rest of the players of the game have already done something similar:

“Worry not. You can’t get pregnant on horse tranquilizers. I have used the old sponge to contain her power. No one will come to her aid. My scrotum piercing needs one of the five alcohol swabs. Hide them. Protect them.

Dr. Skeeves

  Hope that clears up the mystery.

  Next to the note is an egg. Specifically, an oily egg painted up in fiery colors. Maybe it’s a like a gem in the shape of an egg. Whatever it is, Travis shoves that into one of his pockets and continues on his way.

  Another little digression here: I’m not sure where I fall in adventure games when it comes to picking up items of dubious merit on the off chance they’ll be helpful. I mean, I’ve played games where they developers force you to find the puzzle first, then backtrack to where you know the answer is. It’s a pain in the ass. But it’s also kind of silly that a protagonist compulsively steals anything and everything that doesn’t even look potentially useful. Without context, what exactly is Travis planning on doing with that egg? Selling it? Eating it? Throwing it at his childhood bully’s house?

  In any case, Travis is compelled by the gods of stuff to take the egg and leave. I find a portable television just sitting there unattended—naturally, I steal it. It’s not just decoration or a part of a larger puzzle—you see, Nullrigins not only has degradable weapons, but they also have single-use, throwable items, such as this television. Travis will have a mountain of these by the end of the game, but I don’t give a shit what anyone says—hurling a fucking television at some ungodly horror will never not be hilarious. Anyone who has ever complained about this is stupid.

  Also, the throwable items tend to be valuable, so if nothing else, Travis is going to sell them once this is over so he can buy enough amphetamines (and cigarettes) so he never needs to sleep again.

  Sorry. Back to exploring this exciting labyrinthine horrifying untidy hospital. In another room, I stumble on a locked icebox that has a note taped to it talking about how some dude’s heart is on ice. Then he says something about women that make his heart flutter, and to regard them in terms of age before beauty or something like that. Look, all I know is that the creepy owner of the creepy plastic heart in the fucking creepy icebox wrote a creepy journal entry where he was creeping on women.

  Dear game: please don’t let me rummage around women’s corpses for the answer to this.

  So now I have at least one idiotic puzzle I have to solve for an item of dubious merit. Why Travis doesn’t smash the box open is anyone’s guess. One nice thing is that Travis automatically marks this location on the map, because the only thing worse than fucking backtracking is getting lost while backtracking.

  During my journey, I encounter another nurse that I stab with the scalpel I picked up in the mirror world OR. As things are wont to do in these situations, it kind of falls over and starts squirming. Then Travis stabs it square in the ass, killing it.

  I… um…

  I guess monsters’ vital organs are in the ass region of the body? Like, for zombies, you shoot them in the head, but for other monsters, you cap them in the butt? I mean, I’ve never seen it theorized in a werewolf or vampire movie, so I guess that could be a thing.

  Anyway, I wander around for a bit and find a door with a phoenix plaque on it. It has some gibberish about how there’s an inferno and we’re surprised about new life or something. Amateur poetry night aside, I know the door demands the fiery-egg as a key. How the hell Travis sets it in there and the door somehow knows to unlock is beyond me. Any engineers read this and want to clue me in, or shall I just assume magic? Or is the egg the knob? God, there’s just so many questions, and I feel infinitely stupider for asking them.

  The world’s dumbest security mechanism just so happens to protect a women’s restroom, so I feel bad for all the women who have to visit this crappy hospital. God knows what’s required on the other “normal” side during a call of nature. It’s probably based on a token system. “Head to the front desk to purchase more Relief Tokens!” Dr. Skeeves totally seems like the kind of dick to squeeze profit out of a necessary bodily function.

  Inside the women’s room, there’s a mirror back to the slightly (and I do mean slightly) less crummy hospital. But before we go and do that and no doubt bring Johnny Law down on us in the process, let’s poke around for the illicit thrill of it all. There’s a note with a mnemonic device for remembering the way organs go inside the body: Inside Stevie Little Henry Lurks. Troublingly, though, I discover that someone left a plastic liver in a toilet cistern. You know, I never understood those signs in those restrooms until now:

It all makes sense now!
It all makes sense now!

Nullrigins! Fun and educational! A thing that exists!

  Mirror world thoroughly pilfered for the time being, let’s jaunt back to the caffeine-free version of reality. The only things of interest (outside of “tee hee I’m in the ladies room!” I guess) are a puzzle clue written on a stall door—“Amy 31”—and a staff lounge key on a toilet lid. I could say something snarky about it, but it’s not a fucking egg, so whatever. Mother always told me to explore rooms that I find keys for, and I can hardly think of a better time to follow that (weird) advice.

  The staff lounge is not very exciting. There’s a note that talks about how some construction workers fucked up and how the hospital is going to have to cut costs by 50%, reducing the amount of inpatient care. I suspect that this note was put here to explain why no one other than Dr. Skeeves is present, but it doesn’t do what it needs to because it comes so late. Like, if he had found it early on, Travis would be all “Oh, well, that totally explains the suspiciously empty hospital!” By this time, though, Travis has murdered several beasties and probably thinks that everyone has been eaten. So what the hell?

  The only other reason this note exists is to mention how the staff party is still going on and how food and drink will be provided. It ends on the line “Arrive early to grab a trainee nurse! They go quickly!” adding yet another layer of ickiness to this rat-infested dump that I’m hoping Travis burns to the ground. Nothing says “awesome person” quite like using your authority to force some poor person into having sex with you.

  Hastily moving on, the other spoils of this wondrous room of merriment and sexual harassment include a free goddamn toaster and the key to the exam room. The phrase “Lucy 23” is written on the wall, presumably in blood because horror video game. You know, I would say that this is the work of the monsters, but this is probably just some douchecanoe doctor turning this into a hostile work environment for a coworker that rebuffed his advances. So, hurray. Silent Hill: proud home of maladjusted man-children.

  So, now it’s time to run over to the exam room, where an eviscerated dummy lies on a table in the corner of the room. I’m assuming I’m going to have to put its parts back in, but I do not have all five yet. How do I know it’s five, you ask? Well, little Henry told me so. There’s an X-Ray viewer in the back of the room, which I turn on to find that our horrible stalker scratched the phrase “Sarah 19” into the film.

  Uggggh…

  I find the plastic intestines and stomach hanging out in the sinks here, no doubt because stuffing them into random corners of the staff lounge wouldn’t have made a lick of sense. There’s also a note from a Dr. Kaufmann, being all stern and shit about not entering his office unaccompanied, which I’m forced to assume is the “Doctor’s Office” right next to me, if that map is to be trusted. It’s barred (literally, with boards), so I just have to…

  Wait a creepy dick-slapping minute! This is the only named doctor! So does that mean Dr. Skeeves’s real name is Kaufmann? Psh. Until I know for sure, he’s getting called Skeeves on account of his massive sleaziness. I’m just going to assume he wrote the note about the hospital-sanctioned sexually harassment of the trainee nurses, too.

  Dick.

  This seems like a good place to stop in preparation for the thrilling next installment: It’s Not Really Backtracking if There are Jump Scares.

Purchase Project Northwoods at Amazon.com.   Purchase Washed Hands at Amazon.com   Purchase Improbables at Amazon.com.

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