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  Welcome back, Traipsers! Previously, the nightmare reality proved how petty it can be by locking some doors for absolutely no reason and we mathematically derived Silent Hill’s population of 956 dipshits using the number of students in Midwich as a baseline. In terms of actual plot, though, a young woman who looked like Alessa vanished in front of us in the boiler room but dropped a key for Harry. The key belongs to a K. Gordon, and we stole the woman’s address from a very revealing roster of teachers, so we’re onto the next phase of our adventure! We emerge from the purified halls of Midwich Elementary to the streets of Silent Hill, ready to take on the unimaginable horrors that await!

This is what the residential area looks like after our exploration. I don't know when Harry's marking up the map, but he is.
This is what the residential area looks like after our exploration. I don't know when Harry's marking up the map, but he is.

  Well, maybe “unimaginable horrors” is a bit of an overstatement. Once you leave Midwich, either through design or bug, no monsters spawn on this side of the map. You can return to the northeastern area, where the monster spawns are normal and nothing new is happening, but this area seems surprisingly desolate. Well, there is a solitary dog patrolling by Ms. Gordon’s house, probably as a signifier that there’s something to investigate. You know… just in case you didn’t think to examine the staff roster. So, that’s nice.

  Kind of. See, it turns out to be just a touch insulting considering that A) the camera angle changes when you walk by to show where the entrance to her house is, B) there is a spray of decorative blood on the garage to differentiate it already, and C) you can examine the only plaque of its kind to see whose house this is.

  They… didn’t put a whole lot of faith in the player’s intelligence, did they? I realize Harry is a colossal idiot, but that doesn’t mean his pilot is an inbred yokel who couldn’t pick up on telegraphed information if their life depended on it. All this information (sans dog) is also available if you investigate here before stopping at the school, so… yeah.

  I’d also like to point out that they layer four completely different tells so you know where to investigate in the off chance you don’t check the paper on Midwich’s reception desk, but they’ll let you leave the boiler room without the key if you don’t notice it.

Behold! Four ways for developers to tell you that you're an idiot!
Behold! Four ways for developers to tell you that you're an idiot!

  So, about that blood. It could be suggested that this means that Ms. Gordon was killed and that is her blood. However, the game doesn’t actually tell us such a thing happened. Further, blood has been used primarily to clumsily convey gameplay information rather than plot material at this point in the narrative. The blood here means precisely the same thing it meant every other time we’ve encountered it: nothing. In fact, the same kind of “blood on the garage” was used to mark the western side of the Levin Street House.

Oh. God. The horror.
Oh. God. The horror.

  Now, you may be thinking that we don’t know what happened in Silent Hill proper, so everyone in town may have been slaughtered by the various rampaging beasties. However, since Harry was so willing to come here with his daughter at the beginning of the game, we can safely assume that any “events” that cause the shifting of reality are actually relatively personal and not, say, town-wide. Why?

  Because of Travis. And the fact that this is a series. But we’ll start with Travis.

  You see, Travis ran through a seemingly abandoned town, encountering all kinds of seedy shit. But outside of one costume designer’s insane ramblings, acts of violence didn’t really manifest in the mirror reality. Violence in the nightmare realm (that is to say, violence against monsters) didn’t necessarily produce violence in the real world. If it did, Travis would have been arrested or, at the very least, the bad ending would have made sense. Which it doesn’t. So it is reasonable to assume that in situations where an ungodly horror found itself slaughtered, like when the Butcher killed the taffyman, there wasn’t necessarily a real-world analog.

  How could I possibly come to that conclusion? BECAUSE HARRY STILL GOES TO SILENT HILL. If there was a mass murder spree even seven years ago and, say, the murderer was still at large, why the hell would you go there on vacation? If there was a mass disappearance, like what is implied to have happened in this game, why would you go there on vacation? The presence of sequels/prequels renders the whole “mass disappearance” of the first game null and void. So, well done on that.

  I will talk more in depth about this at a later time. Long story short, the blood is meaningless outside of a necessary gameplay convention to convey the location of the exit from one stage into the other. Spooky!

  Ms. Gordon’s house has a couple of smashed plates on the floor, some handgun bullets, and a notepad. There’s also a portrait of an owl for some reason.

Three hours later, Harry was no closer to discovering who had done such a thing.
Three hours later, Harry was no closer to discovering who had done such a thing.

The house has the same setup as the house on Levin Street (which isn’t all that surprising, as this house, too, is on Levin, just the southern portion of it), which means I hate it in precisely the same way I hate the earlier house. The only thing that keeps me going is my conviction that, as we speak, our dedicated public servant is out on the American highways with Travis, fighting crime and righting wrongs.

  Godspeed, madam.

  Anyway, we enter the final area of the residential district and start barging our way through town. There’s only one way to go and nothing fun to discover. The only thing going for it is that the enemies have started spawning at their normal rates again, so at least there’s something to dodge. Or blunder headlong into, depending on how impatient you are.

  We finally get to Balkan Church and are dumped into the second pre-rendered cutscene in five minutes:


Well, this is a somber spin class.

So we have a creepy lady standing in a church, apparently chewing cud. I mean, seriously, watch that video again. I have always wondered what the fuck she was supposed to be doing with her weird head twitch and chewing. Also, what the hell is she wearing? Brown dress, huge fucking tie, bridal veil or something… oh, my god, did the character designer just pull random words out of a hat?

  Anyway, once we’re deposited back into the game, we are privy to the conversation. Harry begins by asking if she was the one ringing the bell, to which she replies, “I’ve been expecting you. It was foretold by Gyromancy.”

  Um… this is the practice of spinning around in circles to foresee the future. So… um… this conversation is going to get very stupid very quickly.

  The next lines are, I kid you not:

  Harry: What are you talking about?

  Creepy Woman: I knew you’d come.

  OH MY GOD.

  We’ve wasted valuable time by having two idiots repeat themselves. Was this not edited? How does this do anything? Creepy Woman should have just continued prattling about stuff, leaving Harry to wonder aloud about everything like the peanut-brained dipshit he is. Instead, nope! Reiterate what’s been said! Spooooooooooky!

  Anyway, she asks if Harry is after “the girl”, which naturally flips Harry’s “freak the fuck out” switch. He asks if she is referring to Cheryl, to which Creepy Woman naturally responds with “I see everything.” Harry gets all excited by this and tries to press for more information, but Creepy Woman demands he stays back for… reasons. Reasons that are never explained and probably wouldn’t make any sense if they were, considering that she will probably be in much closer proximity to Harry by game’s end.

  Anyway, she says that “Nothing is to be gained from floundering about at random,” apparently oblivious to the fact that Travis took down a cult by doing exactly that, and Harry isn’t exactly a slouch in the whole “blundering into things until they solve themselves” department. She intones ominously: “You must follow the path. The path of the hermit, concealed by Flauros.”

  Am… am I supposed to know what the fuck any of those things mean? I mean, I know what the Flauros is because Origins, but path of the hermit? Like, am I supposed to seal myself away from society now? In any case, there is no real way that Harry would know what the fuck—Flauros or hermit-related career changes. Although he is an author, he never displays any knowledge of, say, demonology or hermeneutical studies, so why the hell would it be appropriate to assume that he somehow garnered this particular piece of esoteric information at some point?

  And to validate me, Harry’s next line is a hearty, “What? What are you talking about?”

  First, it’s nice that he’s actually confused by something legitimately confusing.

  Second, I just realized that you could probably change most of Harry’s lines in this game to “Duh?”, “Huh?”, or “Wha?” and it would be precisely the same level of stupid as the original dialogue is.

If it works for highschool freshman Jonathan, it works for me!
If it works for highschool freshman Jonathan, it works for me!

  When questioned, Creepy Woman proceeds to pull the Flauros from her ass (or maybe from the altar behind her).

'I'll just leave this here.'
"I'll just leave this here."

She claims that it is a cage of peace or something stupid, which I call bullshit on because Travis trapped a demon in that thing and it didn’t seem too happy about it. But Harry doesn’t know that, so whatever, lady. It’s a “cage of peace” now. Not only is it a cage of peace, but she also claims that, “It can break through the walls of darkness and counteract the wrath of the underworld.” Also, she now clearly sets the Flauros on the altar behind her with an audible clack, so yup—she pulled it out of her ass or a nether dimension.

  Now, rather than questioning this clearly deranged woman who has somehow survived a town full of nightmare fuel, Harry takes this massively convenient plot point at face value. Sure, he’ll question relative straightforward things like “I’ve been expecting you,” but a magical paperweight? Seems totally legit.

  I really, really miss Travis, y’all. For real.

  Anyway, she feels the need to skedaddle and leaves Harry with a “Make haste to the hospital before it’s too late,” and because she’s a lunatic in a church not wearing shoes…

Oh, that's totally acceptable and normal and I wouldn't immediately think there's something off at all!
Oh, that's totally acceptable and normal and I wouldn't immediately think there's something off at all!

… Harry is going to do what she says.

  Also, the sound design indicates that Creepy Woman is wearing shoes, but I’m not fooled.

  Harry tries to get the woman to stop by asking really nicely, but she ignores him because, pssh, wouldn’t you? We are dumped back into gameplay and we could leave without the trinkets that the woman left behind if we really wanted to, but there’s that whole “progression” thing that will be screwed up if we don’t take the garbage she so generously donated to our cause. We also can’t try to follow Creepy Woman, so don’t get any fancy thoughts of extended/divergent gameplay in your head.

  Harry rolls on up to the altar and picks up the Flauros. Those who have been playing along for a while know that Travis’s main mission in the last game was to assemble the device in order to… um… harvest a demon’s soul… or something… in order to give Alessa the power to make a baby… or something.

  So how did it end up here…

  Oh, dear.

  That was Dahlia, wasn’t it?

Those... those seven years have been rough, haven't they?
Those... those seven years have been rough, haven't they? Origins Source.

  For those of you joining us now, Dahlia is Alessa’s mother. She’s totally into this cult—the Cult of Valtiel—that wants to bring god into the world. This was to be accomplished by burning her daughter alive. Travis stopped her, but also didn’t straight up murder her, so I guess that’s why we have to deal with her now.

  I mean, I knew it was Dahlia the entire time, but the fact that she had her mitts on the Flauros isn’t a good sign. But to be fair, Harry did refer to this as “a Flauros”…

I have, like, twelve of these at home. They make great door stops.
I have, like, twelve of these at home. They make great door stops.

… as opposed to what I assumed would be the correct article usage of “the Flauros”. So maybe this is a bargain buy. You know, six for a dollar down at the convenience store I ransacked earlier. Or maybe it’s a knockoff brand, like some cheaply made Flauros that you pick up at a 4000% price hike at Pier One Imports. Or maybe Travis took the original with him for safekeeping and the cult jerry-rigged this one out of cardboard boxes and blue tack. I bet the demon inside of it is a real nerd, too.

  Hilariously, if you examine the Flauros, Harry describes it as “pyramid-shaped”. You know what this means?

  Travis the trucker canonically has a better vocabulary than Harry the author.

  Other loot in the church includes a drawbridge key, which is handy, I suppose. I guess the drawbridge was raised or something to gate off our exit from the residential district but… uh… couldn’t they have lowered the drawbridge after the conversation or something? Like have Harry use his bat-hearing to hear the thing settling into place?

  Whatever. I’ve seen worse ways to gate off locations in video games. The bigger mystery is how Harry somehow knows it’s a key for a drawbridge when it looks like someone’s apartment key.

Yes! Of course this belongs in a drawbridge operation control box! Don't question me--I'm an AUTHOR!
Yes! Of course this belongs in a drawbridge operation control box! Don't question me--I'm an AUTHOR!

  There’s a health drink and a collection box that Harry insists is empty. I would like to point it out that he won’t comment on corpses but will comment on an empty donation box. Why? Because he’s disappointed there’s nothing to steal.

'What a cheap fucking congregation.'--Harry 'Donations are a Sign of Weakness' Mason
"What a cheap fucking congregation."--Harry "Donations are a Sign of Weakness" Mason

  If you take a look around, you will further discover that Harry is either kind of a dick when it comes to other people’s beliefs or he’s just a moron.

'I... don't... get it.'
"I... don't... get it."

Actually, you know what? It’s probably not mutually exclusive.

  Some dark truths about our favorite tolerated author so revealed, let us call it quits…

  Waaaaaaaaaait a minute.

  (Checks notes)

  We’re willingly doing Dahlia’s bidding. Dahlia is kind of an evil psychopath.

  Oh… oh, no.

  We’re the bad guys.

  We’re the fucking baddies.

  HARRY MASON IS THE VILLAIN.

  Well, this is terrible. But, on the bright side, it brings us to a logical stopping point. You shall have a great day, and anticipate with great fervor the next installment of Traipsing Through Silent Hill: Déjà Goddamn Vu.

  BONUS: Watch this stupid fucking conversation in all its stupid fucking glory.


She seems like such a nice lady.

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

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