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

Part Four, or the One Where I Kill a Man Made of Taffy

  Previously on Traipsing through Origins, we uncovered a series of notes and wall-scrawlings that suggest the Alchemilla Hospital’s staff desperately needs sensitivity training. Or litigation. I’d be happy with either, really. And with that, away we go!

  The exam room offered up the major plot-relevant (or, at the very least, progression relevant) items last episode. There are, however, additional throwable items to compliment the world’s single greatest toaster I stole liberated from the staff lounge. One is an empty (and huge) bottle of medicinal alcohol. The other is a typewriter in full working order.

  Plundered booty aside, we’ve collected enough clues to solve the ice box puzzle, so I guess it’s time to be hopping to the mirror dimension and put a pin in that. After a trip to the women’s restroom so we could do our mirror-world hopping, I discover that I skipped over another weird door—this one has a death mask in it and is apparently locked until its eyes are returned.

  You know, the keys to the different rooms in the mirror world are just kind of dumb. Just who is building these doors with these esoteric keys? Are there hardware stores in this reality whose sole job is to carve out new eyeballs and oily fire eggs so that monsters can get to their day jobs of shuffling back and forth in the corridors? Or would any similar item also work in their stead? Like if I found a couple of sizeable grapes or a smushed baseball, would they be just as acceptable for their respective doors?

  Whatever. I jaunt back to the icebox and notice that there’s a subtle heartbeat sound effect when I’m close to it. It’s a neat touch. Anyway, the puzzle solution is pretty fucking obvious, considering the line “age before beauty” was in the creeper’s note. The three women’s ages are 31, 23, and 19 in descending order. Our prize is the plastic heart, which is unfortunate, because I was hoping that the creepy guy actually sliced out his own heart for his little dalliance into… well, it wasn’t really poetry, but I’m sure that’s just ‘cause he sucked.

  Heart in hand we can exit the room and HOLY SHIT NURSE OUT OF NOWHERE. Okay, Climax Studios, I gotta admit that got me. But Travis is far too quick for her and manages to scamper to safety. I do take the opportunity to chuck the typewriter at another, completely different nurse who didn’t even know I was there, which made me laugh harder than it probably should have. The throwable weapons seem to have no real downside, as they floor these weirdoes in one shot. Granted, I still have to do the ass-stomp/stab special on them to make sure they don’t get up again, but who cares? You’ve literally just thrown something hilarious at something hideous and knocked it to the ground. Take victories where you can, buddy.

  Side note, however: the instruction manual has no information that I could see regarding throwable weapons. It mentions that you can charge up weapons for a more powerful swing, but makes no mention of the desperate chucking of something hard and pointy at a monster’s face. The only place it is mentioned is on the title menu’s “hints” screen, something that most players will sail right by. Alternatively, it is kind of logical to assume players will naturally find out about it if they know about “holding X to do a strong-whack-type-of-thing” thing, but since it’s never really brought up anywhere directly, it can be something people can relatively easily miss.

  I guess what I’m saying is that this is kind of a big deal, what with being a relatively new concept to the series, and you’d think you’d be a bit more obvious addressing it to your audience.

  But back to the exciting gameplay! We return to the real world, again, so we can get to the exam room, again, and then we put the plastic organs in the dummy in the right order. I’d imagine that it’s not particularly difficult if you skipped the mnemonic device from last episode and decided to go with trial and error. Or, hell, maybe that it’s a well-known anatomical memory-trick and I’m just an idiot.

  One way or another, we put all the organs and OH CHRIST, ITS EYES OPENED UP. Travis, unfazed as he is by godless abominations from beyond the veil of man, just plucks those fuckers right out and stuffs them down his pants. This goes back to that thing I mentioned the other day about adventure games—without the door to provide context, Travis would just take those eyes and be like “yup, these will come in handy”. And that’s coming after the fact that he’s been harvesting organs like an urban legend since he stepped foot in the mirror world without any other rationale than “well, I can see a need for this coming up”.

  The backtracking that we had up to this point is aggravating, and I’m not suggesting that the game would have been better served by forcing people to get into the exam room before anything else. But I am suggesting that maybe setting up the ultimate goal of this place first would make Travis seem a lot less impulsive than he ends up appearing.

  But whatever. No one seems to question this line of thinking except for me, so I head back to the women’s room in order to hop back to the fucking nightmare dimension again.

  For those keeping count, I had to hop back and forth six five times to finish two puzzles of dubious caliber. There was a seventh sixth instance of transdimensional fuckery, but that was mostly just to see if I could, technically speaking, stand in the OR for an eternity and hop back and forth between worlds. You know. For science.

  Immediately after I step outside the mirror world’s restroom, I am jumped by a nurse, probably for being a big burly male trucker sniffing about the ladies’ room. Oh, no, wait—it heard the siren call of a completed puzzle from across the dimensional boundaries. How cute. You know, the second time you use a key event as an excuse to spawn a jump scare monster is the precise moment such things go from “startling” to “annoying”, Climax. Bad show.

  I run away because I do not have time for some cranky, syringe-wielding, penis-headed nurse-thing. Not when there are glass eyes to shove into a door for reasons best described as “vague”. Door unlocked, I go to the other side and find two nurses rapidly closing in. I figure that this is a great opportunity to introduce one monstrosity to the new love of my life, the free toaster I stole from the employee break room. I prepare the throw and…

  … Somehow the nurse closed the remaining five feet between us with an instant, unblockable grapple move requiring a quick time event (button smashing) to escape from. In doing so, the horrible freak of nature BROKE MY FUCKING TOASTER. It was JUST IN MY HANDS and the TOTAL WANKER just KNOCKED IT OUT OF MY GRIP and it SHATTERED into a million pieces along with my HEART. So there is a downside to one-hit weapons: if you’re prepping to throw/bonk a monster on the head hilariously with an attack and are interrupted by a monster trying to lick your face to death, the weapon is broken and gone from your life.

  Determined to avenge my appliance, I whip out my hefty glass bottle to deal shard-tastic justice…

  … Only to be interrupted again and lose a valuable weapon.

  I believe the noise I made was a long, uninterrupted “fffggrraaaggbllee”.

  Unluckily for the nurses, the more durable weapons happen to pummel them without interruption. It is about a million times less amusing, though. Once the threat has been taken care of, I plunder a television from the mirror-world waiting room before ducking into the exam room. I discover a corpse with all of its internal organs removed in the same place that, in the “normal” world, the plastic dummy was. That’s… foreboding. Upon examination, Travis uses his trucker-honed reasoning skills to determine that this very dead and very skinned body belonged to a woman, who—knowing what I know about this terrible place—was probably murdered for the provocation of “being a woman”.

  Goddamn it game! This is not better than what I feared! THIS IS NOT BETTER!

  Unlike the real world, the mirror world’s doctor’s office is not barred from entry, so I guess that’s our ultimate destination. After all, Dr. Skeeves didn’t want his staff blundering in there unaccompanied to the point that he nailed boards over the door. I’m guessing it’s where he keeps his supply of super weight gain powder and muscle magazines. And with that line of thought, I’m going to stumble in on Dr. Skeeves standing naked in front of a mirror telling himself “I’d fuck me.”

  Oh, well. Fortune favors the bold and all that.

  I wander through the door (which looks vaguely like a toothy maw, kind of) and enter a small square room where I am immediately set upon by what looks like an anthropomorphic wad of taffy without arms. The monster design in Zerorigins doesn’t really seem to fit too much of a theme here. Like, I get the nurses because we’re in a hospital, but wouldn’t a boss of this place be, I don’t know, like the director or something?

  The taffyman is a bit of a bastard. He’s relatively fast and has two attacks for ruining your day: he either hocks an acidic loogie at our hero at a distance of about ten feet or so, or he runs right up and wraps his legs around Travis’s waist. If it decides to pretend we’re in a romantic comedy, it initiates a quick time event wherein failure leads to it vomiting on Travis (just like a romantic comedy, come to think of it).

  The fight itself is a bit tougher than I was expecting. The taffyman makes me drop two of my ranged weapons before my brain starts working and I switch to straight-up melee tools. Even then, I break two melee weapons before the ambulatory candy treat finally dies. I also have to slam some health drinks, because the nurses in the hallway prior to this fight had also done a number on Travis’s kidneys.

  Anyway, the thing finally dies and a… um… red pyramid paperweight-thing appears in the middle of a glowing seal in the room. When I pick it up, Travis announces that it is something called the “Future piece”, which I think is his way of saying “I’m going to give this knickknack a fancy name so it justifies why I’m stealing it.” Either that, or the name is on the price tag on the bottom of the thing.

  Suddenly, Creepy Girl appears and Travis finally expresses general disbelief over what happened, asking what taffyman was. Rather than answer his question, Creepy Girl glares at him, causing Travis to die.

  Or pass out. Whatever.

  Does Travis live? Or will the game be taken over by a slightly more expressive protagonist? Join me next time for Travis Totally Lives.

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

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