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

Part Five, or On the Finer Details of Monster Genitalia

  Previously on Traipsing Through Origins, we discovered that Silent Hill’s denizens really hate women, Dr. Skeeves Kaufmann keeps a man made out of taffy in his mirror-world office, and I lost a toaster. Also, I guess Travis died or something. Well, that brought us right up to… well… now. So, without further ado…

  Travis wakes up in the regular hospital lobby, which is just a crappy as I remember it. However, a young lady is there and begins chatting with us. In their awkward introductions, it is revealed that she is named Lisa and is a nurse-trainee. This sadly reveals that she is probably going to be sexually harassed and jobless by the end of the month.

  Travis claims to be a little off thanks to the fire the previous night “boiling his brain” or some such rot. You know, there might be some truth to that, considering the wide epidemic of people who hallucinate mirror realities after severe smoke inhalation that I literally just made up. Lisa asks if it was the fire in the business district before spouting off additional information—the mysterious fire was indeed mysterious, for instance. Crispy Girl also gets a name—Alessa Gillespie—but she dies for her trouble. It was all very sad, if we believe what Lisa says.

  But the thing is that we can’t believe Lisa. Dr. Skeeves said that no one was admitted to the hospital. The note in the OR said a girl was brought in and, despite being very crispy, her internal organs were just fine. So either Lisa just lied to us or she has been lied to. In any case, I don’t like it.

  Also, business district? Really? My semi was parked on a rural road in the beginning of the game—am I to take it that the Gillespie house is located in the business district? I call bullshit, game. Unless there just so happens to be a trail of gasoline running from the house I stormed into last night and the fucking mall, I doubt that the two events had anything to do with each other unless “convenience” is now considered a good rationale.

  Lisa says that she has to be going to the local sanitarium—Cedar Grove Sanitarium—to meet up with Dr. Skeeves. Since one of our main quests has been to find Dr. S and punch him square in the dick since episode two, it kind of makes sense to follow him there. Maybe. Kind of.

  When Lisa leaves, we’re given control of Travis. My first order of business is to examine the knickknack that the taffyman dropped. Travis’s description of it is thus: “A tetrahedron with the word “future” engraved on its side. Feels heavier than it looks.”

  You are lying to me Travis. First, I see the side of the thing, and it’s got weird ass symbols on it. You can tell me “future” is written on the price tag, because that’s the only place it wouldn’t be out of place. Second, tetrahedron? Not to be a dick, Travis, but most of us would say “pyramid-shaped”. Stop showing off. Third, you confirmed my suspicion—if it’s heavier than it looks, it’s most likely a paperweight. So thank you.

  That incredibly vital business taken care of, I try to dart out the front door, but Travis discovers that someone has locked it.

  Someone has locked the front door.

  To a hospital.

  Outside of the obvious silliness of having a fairly large hospital close at all (even though we established that it should still be open and receiving patients), shouldn’t the doors be locked from the inside? As in, shouldn’t Captain Trucker be able to find the bolt or whatever and unlock it? It would make sense if it was barred or blocked from the outside for reasons, but this? This is just contrivance at this point.

  I guess regardless of what I may want to do, our next stop (out of pure, unadulterated railroading) is Cedar Grove Sanitarium.

  Side note—I realize that there would be some need for physicians to be at a sanitarium, but why wouldn’t they have people permanently on staff for that? I mean, it seems like a really bad idea to put a lot of people who are emotionally (and more than likely physically) vulnerable in a building without immediate access to health care if something goes wrong. If there’s a fight or a suicide attempt, having to call someone from up the road to cancel whatever appointments they have, get in their car/bike/jogging shorts, and make their way there seems like a really, really bad idea.

  I suppose what I’m getting at is the real monster of Silent Hill is poor planning.

  We bound through the hospital toward its back exit, making sure to try all the rooms that were previously accessible only to find that they are all locked. It’s nice to know that the (assumed) only medical facility in the city locks down like a fucking Blockbuster Video after hours.

  Once outside, I run through the tiny… um… I really don’t know what to call this space. Courtyard? I run through a tiny courtyard and down a back alley, which reveals that Travis is indeed a chain smoking maniac—he runs out of breath after about ten seconds or so of his run/mild jog. It’s seriously pathetic. He needs to catch his breath to run at full speed again, but it seems to take forever if he’s moving at all—even a walk. I’m sure it’s supposed to add tension, but it’s easy enough to stay one step ahead of the monsters, even when alternating between walking/staggering along like my lungs are filled with delicious, delicious black tar.

  Oh, and now the streets are filled with monsters. Particularly the taffymen. The nurses haven’t made any appearances while I’m out and about, so I guess that’s a good thing. The taffymen are better suited to the outside world, anyway, what with their speediness and their propensity to wrap their legs around my waist in greeting.

  It also turns out that not all the streets are named after horror authors. Some have generic names, like Cielo Avenue. The word “cielo” in Spanish translates to “heaven”, so I’ll have to assume that is important. Or not.

  The streets themselves have some goodies peppered about, like health drinks, energy drinks, and various weapons, the most frequent of which appears to be a jagged piece of wood. The most powerful, though, is the meat hook, which quickly turns taffymen into piles of twitching taffy goo. This is in stark comparison to the jagged wood, which shatters before it can fully defend me against my attacker. Unarmed, I do discover the taffyman’s fatal weakness:

  The Dick Stomp Special™.

I have been waiting so long to use this. You don't even know.

  I don’t really understand this game’s obsession with groinal violence. Did no one on the testing team raise their hand at any point and say “Hey, it totally looks like Travis is stabbing/stomping/whacking these monsters square in the junk”? Is this symbolism and commentary about our society’s collective revulsion and attraction toward sexuality? Or is this just oversight?

  It does lead me to discover that stepping in the pooling blood does make it so that every time Travis takes a step, a hilarious “thrp” is produced for a while afterwards. Delightful.

  Anyway, I come across a couple points of interest. The first is that there’s a lumber yard near the hospital that seems to be the only thing that even acknowledges it has a door. Now, granted, that door is locked at the moment, but it’s a pretty big clue that something’s going down there at some point. The other thing is that all the streets tend to end in a yawning chasm, making it pretty obvious that I am not really allowed to go anywhere I wish. One chasm, however, does lead me into a butcher shop, which I’m sure is no way intended to be ominous in the least.

  The butcher shop is barren for the most part. It’s got some machines humming away and some presumably rotting meat on the counter. But it doesn’t affect Travis in the least since his sense of smell has long since died. There’s a health drink hidden in the meat case, which Travis takes seeing as how he has no fear of disease thanks to his years of subsisting on diner coffee, cigarettes, and syphilis.

  We go through to the back room, where Travis happens upon a demon nurse sitting on a radiator (as you do). Suddenly, a big burly bloke with a huge fucking cleaver saunters over to the nurse, hefts it into the air one-handed, and stabs it in the gut. With a swift yank, it pulls the cleaver through the nurse’s insides and drops the twitching corpse before it immediately gets bored wanders off.

  Travis… just kind of watches it happen. He doesn’t squawk in surprise or shout or cover his mouth. He’s just sort of “meh” about the whole thing. When I get control back, I examine the nurse for Travis’s commentary: “This is awful. She’s been cut almost in half.” While I agree that the problem of monster-on-monster violence has only risen in recent decades, Travis never really acted like it was horrible. If I were to rank it on an emotional scale, I’d say watching something get split in half is something he takes surprisingly well, all things considered.

  Also, why are you assuming that the nurse-thing is a woman, Travis me old boy? I realize that I’ve probably slipped up in these reviews, but there’s nothing to suggest (outside of sexualized breasts) that these beings have any kind of gender. I doubt that they’re mammals, in spite of the presence of breasts—nothing even suggests that they are in any way natural and behave in accordance with what we know of traditional biology. Considering their obvious inhuman mannerisms, violent behavior, and clear monstrous visages, I would want to avoid ascribing any pronoun to them save “it”. But minor quibbles.

  There’s a first aid kit here and a cleaver of my very own, but other than that the butcher’s shop seems quiet. Travis follows Stabby Guy, but is let out onto the street unmolested. In the delivery area for the butcher’s shop (I guess), there’s a positively gigantic van that Travis could stand without having to stoop in. I can’t stress how fucking huge this thing is—the door starts at Travis’s shin and doesn’t stop for a good three feet above the guy.

  But it also looks like I have a relatively straight path to Cedar Grove Sanitarium from here. As I make my journey up the road, I encounter a parking ticket with “She’s asleep now” written on it. Okay… are you talking about Crispy Girl Alessa? I have to assume so. I doubt Lisa’s just falling asleep on her commute over to the Sanitarium, what with all the horrible monsters and all.

  I also encounter a new enemy that seeks to stop my progress. It looks like a skinned cow or other four-legged beast of burden. The front half of the animal is completely broken—it pushes itself forward on its hind legs, its head and neck flopping about as it moves around. It also gives a terrifying roar when it sees/hears Travis, making the whole thing pretty damn creepy. It kind of gives the impression of roadkill…

  Oh. Oh.

  The roadkill monsters seem like something plucked from Travis’s nightmares to torment him. Spiffy. Good show, Climax.

  I do get sick of Travis constantly wearing himself out, so I have him slam an energy drink so he can run the rest of the way to the Sanitarium. There’s a bunch of roadkills and taffymen that try to stop me, but with the magic of B12 or some shit, I’m able to make it to the fully functional and not-at-all abandoned asylum.

  Ha. Ha. Nope.

  Join me next time for our next action-packed episode: The One Where Jonathan Describes an Entire Level as “Cocking Bullshit”.

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