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

Part Seven, or Why Isn't Clem Stuck in the Mirror World?

  Previously on Silent Hill: Zerorigins, Travis made his way through lumpy monsters that have since taken up residence in the streets, saw a demon nurse get cut almost in half, had an awkward conversation with a lady in an asylum, and was relatively “meh” about the whole thing.

  So, the “creepy” asylum is relatively calm for the moment. There is a store room with very little exciting in it: a screw driver and a tire iron for melee weapons. Both of which will probably prove to be infinitely more effective that the broken 2x4 I still have in my inventory.

  Other than that, there isn’t whole lot to explore on this floor. I have access to the stairwell, so I hop in there. I make the mistake of thinking the game will want me to explore the “spooky” basement of this “spooky” asylum, but it turns out to be locked. Welp! 2nd floor it is!

  Tromping about in the dark is what appears to be a flying metal girdle. As in, I can see nothing except for a metal harness just kind of stomping toward me. I run away, because seriously: fuck that. Travis ducks into a nearby storeroom and takes out a nurse with a hearty stomp to the ass. He also discovers that apparently this asylum, in proud terrible hospital tradition, keeps live shotgun ammo on their grounds at all times.

  After poking about a bit more, I uncover a gigantic wrench. After examining it, Travis tells me that it appears to be an axel wrench, which means that it’s pretty fucking weird to be hanging out on the second floor of an asylum. Exploration only revealing melee-weapon silliness, I realize I have to run by the floating girdle-thing. As I do so, I see that there is a human-like shadow projected on the floor/walls when the flashlight hits them. That’s… actually a really cool effect. Is it the ghost of those Clem has killed due to his criminal negligence/direct need for murder? Smart money is on ‘yes’.

  It’s also at this point that I’m actually notice there are additional noises being produced when I’m strolling by a monster. As in there are the various “grr, I’m a monster” noises, but there is also a subtle background hissing/interference. The screen also gets all grainy and static-y. Checking my inventory, I discover that apparently Travis has some kind of pocket radio that he keeps with him to “keep the boredom at bay” when he’s unloading and loading his rig. Why it’s tuned to Monster FM is anyone’s guess, but it would have been nice to know that this was an explained in-world mechanic rather than something like Travis’s “sixth sense” or whatever.

  Oh, hello Mr. Ghost Girdle. I was in the process of fleeing from you. Allow me to continue.

  I duck into the mezzanine to find that there is a mutant nurse convention. I decide to test something and turn off my flashlight. Doing so allows me to run right up to these monsters without them even noticing I’m there. I can still look at the map, examine things, and… well… see everything in the darkness. So I’m a little confused as to why anyone would ever leave it on.

  There is even an instance where I actually run into a nurse after missing an attack. Even though it has to shove me aside to continue moving forward, it doesn’t react to my presence at all. This seems like a pretty massive development oversight.

  Also, the meat hook is stupidly overpowered. I love it.

  It turns out the mezzanine has access to the TB Ward which, if you remember from Clem’s note, is where one of the “magpies” was taken to have the key violently extracted recovered from them. That seems like the place to go (considering we have literally nothing else to go on), so we head right into the TB Ward.

  Hold on—is it just me, or is the idea of heading into an abandoned asylum’s TB Ward just asking for problems? I don’t mean in the “Oh noes, tuberculotic ghosts!” sense, but in the “How long can tuberculosis survive without a host?” sense. Just me? Good to know.

  Apparently, the TB Ward is home to an iron lung, which surprised the fuck out of me. Is… this an actual treatment for tuberculosis?

  (checks Wikipedia, then does some digging)

  Well, holy shit.

  If you didn’t read the article (and shame on you if you didn’t), apparently the iron lung, while originally assisting those who can’t breathe, can also allow human beings to not have to draw breath under their own power. This means that their actual biological lungs can get some much needed rest. This was a method for treating those who had come under the effects of tuberculosis.

  Climax Studios—I have given you some shit, but this is a really nice touch. You could have taken the easy way out and just thrown a decrepit iron lung in here because it was a “scary” asylum, but you went that extra step for authenticity. I respect that.

  That being said, my puzzle senses are tingling! There are five pressure gauges on the iron lung. There are buttons beneath each gauge. Pressing one button increases its attendant gauge by 50%, while the gauges on either side increase by 25%. I must bring all gauges up to 100% without going over.

  This… this is not a particularly difficult puzzle.

  You just have to push the first, middle, and last buttons twice. It doesn’t even have to be in any particular order. The first time is probably just going to be experimenting to see what the buttons do, but it shouldn’t take you any more than twice to figure it out. Unless you’re really bad at detecting patterns.

  Anyway, puzzle completed, something is ejected from the iron lung. Travis gets a key to the basement! And… there’s a note from Dr. Harris. Apparently, the iron lung is out of use because someone managed to overload all the valves and straight up killed a patient. He expresses disbelief over something like this happening accidentally, and that deaths during therapy are not to be taken lightly.

  Alright, Dr. Harris, let’s be real here for a second—Clem left you a note telling you exactly how he planned to retrieve the key from a patient who had swallowed it. I’m guessing this particular variety of incident has happened before, and both you and Clem had an understanding about how to “fix” the situation. What happened was Clem’s friend’s murderection got a little too in the way and during your sanctioned (implicitly or otherwise) torture “therapy” session, and the patient died. Don’t you dare feign moral outrage over this, because you clearly don’t give a shit.

  Slightly murder-y basement key in hand, we go back to the stairwell and head to the basement. There’s a roadkill pushing its fat ass around in the dark, so I sneak up on it and murder it with the meat hook because I want to get a good look at the thing. Outside of being able to tell that it has the same general color of uncooked pork, I can’t really get a good gander at it because the fucking camera refuses to cooperate. Whatever. Fuck you, roadkill.

  There’s a “Pipe Room” in the basement, which has greenish sludge pumping from an open pipe into a drain. The diets in this asylum must be horrible.

  (re-reads earlier events; long, exasperated sigh)

  Anyway, Travis pays keen attention to the grate in the floor, signaling to me that there’s going to be something that I probably have to retrieve here later. Hurray.

  There’s a storage room in the basement that I pillage for a drip stand. As in one of those thin, metal stands for intravenous bags. Apparently it is a weapon, and it is a weapon made entirely of wank. I think it’s supposed to be something to keep enemies at a safe distance so you can stun them and run, but since we’re dealing with unholy abominations and not, say, an elderly arthritic man, it’s really something I’m going to be carting around for hilarity’s sake.

  The big benefit of this room is the flavor text regarding boxes of files (or something) that allows Travis to steal my heart once and for all: “I can’t see anything of interest. Judging by the dust on these things, I’m not the only one.” Oh, Travis… you had me at your condescending snark.

  Elsewhere in the basement, I decide to withdraw my meat hook and do battle with one of the ghost girdles. Two points: the meat hook is still fucking awesome, and despite screaming like a cat in heat the things do eventually go down. They also appear to be the only monster thus far that does not require me to stab/stomp them in the ass/dick to terminate. Just like the nurses, the best option appears to be baiting them into an attack by running by them, turning around, and then just beating them to death with whatever’s at hand.

  I am also puked on by a taffyman in the basement. It is unpleasant. I step on its taffy-wiener and leave, determined never to speak of this again.

  Another, completely different yet oddly similar stairwell will only let me out on the second floor, so I guess that’s where we’re going. The first room I blunder into is the hydrotherapy room, which is where the other unfortunate “magpie” was taken. So I naturally have to assume that something horrible happened to her and sure-e-goddamn-nough, the hydrotherapy tub is full of boiling water.

  Jesus fucking Christ.

  The other key is sitting at the bottom of the tub of boiling water that is meant to treat patients by apparently melting their skin off. There isn’t a note from Dr. Harris discussing how shocked—shocked—he is that a patient has died here, so I guess Mrs. Magpie survived with only massive full-body burns.

  So, the solution is to drain the water using a big button on the wall, which also manages to suck the key down the drain as well. Fun.

  Okay, I’m going to be really, really honest here: fuck these kinds of stupid quests. Adventure games do this all the fucking time, and it’s not cute, it’s not funny, it’s not fun or even masochistically enjoyable. It’s fucking stupid. What do I mean? I mean Travis is carrying about a million different weapons that could allow him to scrape the key along the bottom and sides of the tub despite the boiling water. He has an axel wrench, a piece of jagged wood, a drip stand, and a fucking tire iron. My first instinct in this situation would be to use one of those things to fish the key out.

  Even if he didn’t want to spend the time futzing with the key in the tub, he could have used one of those items to pin the key in place as he flushed the water.

  I get that you can’t guarantee Travis arrive in this room with one of those items, but he seems like a reasonably smart guy and could have improvised with literally anything else. But no, since that fucking drain pipe in the basement is just so fucking important to the fucking “puzzle” we have to fucking flush the fucking key down the fucking drain.

  I am having so much fun.

  I step out of the room and it looks like a taffyman has appeared. Or maybe it was here already and I just didn’t notice. Anyway, it hasn’t seen me yet and I take the moment to watch the horrible monster. I realize that its coloration actually implies burning—it’s a bit on the glisteny side, but I think it’s supposed to imply that it’s covered in burns. It definitely has no arms, so I guess they’re kind of like Alessa, right? ‘Cause she’s all burned and can’t really do a whole lot considering that whole “almost dying because my mom is nutjob” thing.

  The only other room of interest at the moment is a mirror to the other reality located in the female treatment room. There’s a key to fetch, though, so I just file that away for my next stop after I trudge all the way to the basement and all the way back to the pipe room. And guess what?

  The key isn’t there.

  THE. KEY. ISN’T. THERE.

  You know what’s worse than fucking backtracking, Climax Studios? Fucking bait-and-switch-backtracking.

  This is so goddamn stupid. I have been in this shithole for way too long without any significant justification as to why I’m here. The place is abandoned. The woman who I met didn’t make any mention of anyone else being here that I should be concerned with. There is no point why I should even care about retrieving these keys. What does Travis see in this?

  Also, on my way back to the mirror, I find a meat hook in the basement.

  CLLEEEEEEEEM!

   Will Travis eventually find an excuse to be in this dump? Find out next time in It’s No Longer Foreshadowing, Sir… It’s Fiveshadowing.

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

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