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  Happy Friday to you, Traipsers! Unless it is not Friday, then happy whatever-the-hell-day it is instead! When last we traipsed through the abandoned wasteland of Silent Hill, Harry broke into a public worker’s house and stole her bullets before meeting a very creepy woman in a church. Her name is Dahlia, but she didn’t introduce herself, so Harry has no choice but to call her Shoeless Dumbass or something along those lines.

Uggggggh.
Uggggggh.

She also gave us one of her many Flauroses. Flauri? Flaurosi?

Flamenses?
Flamenses?

Since she was evil in Silent Hill: Origins and we don’t have any evidence that she’s had a recent change of heart, the fact that Harry is now carrying around this device on her orders does not at all bode well for things to come.

  And speaking of things to come, Dahlia was kind enough to tell us to go to the hospital for… reasons. We also picked up a drawbridge key, giving us a necessary stop along the way. So let’s go do things in the proper order, shall we?

Map!
Map!

  All we have to do upon leaving the church is head east along Bloch Street. If you dip south past the gas station on Ellroy, you can discover some tasty supplies by a loading dock adjacent to one of those oh-so-fashionable bottomless pits. The only other source of pickups in this area would be on the bridge—heading down one of the stairs to the river-walk will deliver upon thee a box of shells and a first aid kit.

  Further along the bridge is the drawbridge control tower. There are two floors—the first floor contains a rock drill, but Harry won’t pick it up because it doesn’t have any gasoline. The rock drill is actually one of two gasoline-powered bonus weapons you can get on a New Game Plus. The other is a chainsaw, available at Cut-Rite Chain Saws, the owners of which must have misspelled the word “right” and “chainsaw” for purely financial reasons, namely so they could pass any and all savings onto the customer.

  Restarting a game after successful completion will generate a can of gasoline at the gas station (fancy that) which can be used to fill one of these two items. How does one choose, you might ask? Well, one shouldn’t—both the rock drill and chainsaw are hilariously underpowered. The chainsaw has precisely zero knockback, if I recall correctly, so anything stronger than Mr. Mittens will blow right through your attack and hit you. The rock drill does have pushback, but takes forever to kill a monster and you’re immobile when you use it.

  Long story short, you already have a fairly powerful assortment of weaponry and these are really shitty rewards for beating the game.

  The second floor of the control tower actually holds our priority target—the control box for the drawbridge. It also has some other goodies: the shopping district map and a health drink that Harry has no problem swiping from some poor dead public worker’s lunch. This is first (and perhaps only) time that a key (as in, an item that is also a real key as opposed to whatever bullshitery the nightmare reality has made) has to be used manually. It’s a little odd, to be honest—I can understand manually using puzzle items and esoteric things at appropriate times, but a plain old key? PSSHAW, I SAY.

Do You Wish to Progress the Game? Yes/No
Do You Wish to Progress the Game? Yes/No
Do You Instead Wish to Take Your Place as King of the Skinless Horde? Yes/No

  Examining the control box again allows us to lower the bridge. We have the option to make use of the notepad to write all of Harry’s darkest thoughts and dreams if we so desire. Otherwise, nothing is stopping us from heading on out and crossing the bridge! It should be noted that there is now super-ominous music playing whenever we cross the bridge (which will happen only once more in the canon play through), but it is of little consequence.

  And now I present to you, the commercial district:

Map!
Map!

Outside of once more providing us with references for the sake of references, those of you who read my Nullrigins traipsing should recognize quite a few of the streets—Sagan, Crichton, and Koontz. Now, we only really dicked around Sagan when the town was swallowed by the netherworld, but whatevs, right? Good to be back in old digs.

  First order of business is to investigate this side of the river’s stairs down to the river-walk for more goodies. But outside of that, the only real thing to do is escape into the commercial district proper. Running straight from the bridge introduces us to the police station and, subsequently, a new monster type… some kind of demon gorilla thing.

Yes. This is what Silent Hill needed.
Yes. This is what Silent Hill needed.

I absolutely love how little thought went into most of the monster design in this game. And maybe I’m wrong, but who the fuck thought that dogs, birds, and gorillas were going to strike fear into the hearts of players who, presumably, have been semi-professionally murdering ghouls for a while now? As incoherent as some of the design of Origins monsters were, it managed to, at times, be unsettling. This just seems like last minute monster design to me.

  Anyway, gorillas! The hoot and grunt just like gorillas! They’re surprisingly fast and a pain in the ass to deal with! They have precisely the same AI and movement patterns as the skinless dogs! So it’s basically a fancy palette swap!

  Unlike dogs, though, their only attack is a diving tackle, which knocks Harry to the ground and pins him in place.

HUGGLES
HUGGLES

The tackling gorilla then proceed to chew on him. You can cut this carnivorous cur’s consumption down by wiggling the analog stick, upon which Harry will punch/elbow the beast in the face and get to his feet. If you do nothing? Harry is eaten to death. Literally. You can go from full to no health in one attack if you wait for it to end. Alternately, you can take almost no damage by spazzing out at the first indication of a successful hit.

Well, at least it isn't awkward to watch.
Well, at least it isn't awkward to watch.
Alternate Caption: Someone, somewhere, is having a wank over this.

  If you want to go on the offensive, handgun rounds don’t always stun them outside of the first round, but two to three additional bullets will ruin their day in short order. The shotgun can kill them in one blast if you’re close enough. Not take them to floored-but-alive… straight up kill them. These things have actually less health than the nightmare children, which is fine, considering their speed and attack style, but still.

  There is a reliable melee option for dealing with the pugilist primates, but we don’t have it yet. Overall, the biggest problem is the same problem you’ll run into with any Silent Hill monster street fight: you will almost always get the shit kicked out of Harry if you ever try to stand your ground when all the monsters in the same zip code decide to see what’s going on.

  So the best way to handle any encounters with these fuckers? Run in a zig-zag pattern and, if you get knocked down, you better hope the conga line of horrors that is inevitably following you doesn’t catch up and rip Harry apart. The palette-swapped-dog comment wasn’t an offhand dismissal—treat them like the demon dogs with a notch more health and a speed boost, and you’re good to go.

  Now, gorillas only appear in this area around the police station, which is a subtle indication that it is an enterable building. And by subtle, I mean “first time players will probably choose to run the fuck away than investigate because running away is almost always the less stupid option”. But whatever. The bigger problem is that there are a couple of side doors that Harry can’t get in, which can psyche you out when you have demon apes breathing down your neck. However, wandering through the front door, we encounter… not a whole lot. Just an empty lobby and some ammunition that, while probably better left in the hands of professionals, Harry steals to feed his ever-growing stash.

In real life, Harry would have waited in this empty lobby for hours before wondering aloud where everyone is, then waiting an additional six.
In reality, Harry would have waited for three hours before wondering aloud where everyone is, then waiting an additional six.

  A side room has a chalkboard which suggests that there is a drug ring operating in good ol’ Silent Hill. I know, I was shocked to find out, too. The main component is something called “White Claudia”, which happens to be native to the region. The police think it’s being produced by the distributor. In conclusion, it looks like they have “fuck” and “all” to go on.

  There is also a note which says that an Officer Gucci has died. Detective Levi is investigating, while Chief Thomas Hilfiger is tapping Agents Prada, Dolce, and Gabbana. They’re going to bag their prime suspect, just you wait. It doesn’t matter the fashion in which the officer died, no one will rest until the suits are satisfied. They’ve received word that the runway has been cleared. That’s a wrap!

  Fuck you, I’m hilarious.

You know it's a well-written note when you can walk in on any moment of an infinite cycle and it makes sense.
You know it's a well-written note when you can walk in on any moment of an infinite cycle and it makes sense.

  This note is fucking weird. I mean, you do know that when a police officer dies, the event is treated like anyone else dying, right? Like, unless there is something suspicious (or obvious, like, say, a bullet hole in the copper’s face), no one will think and have to dismiss murder before moving onto heart disease.

  God, is everyone in this town just the worst possible combination of dangerous, stupid, and capricious? It’s a good thing Harry wandered off after his accident.

  VICTIM: Thank god you’re here, officer! That man is trapped in the flipped vehicle!

  OFFICER: THERE’S NO REASON TO ASSUME FOUL PLAY.

  VICTIM: Right… I mean… I didn’t say anything about foul…

  OFFICER: WHY DO YOU SUSPECT FOUL PLAY?

  VICTIM: I didn’t, you…

  OFFICER: (Shoots victim) SUSPECT DIED OF HEART DISEASE.

  I guess I gotta ask: just what the hell the purpose of this building is? I mean, the public records office in Nullrigins at least had something pertinent to offer. But this? What the hell? Maybe that White Claudia shit is what poor Travis was dosed with in Origins, but we’re never told so it’s just an assumption. Even then, it could have been plain ol’ cocaine for all its function in the plot. I guess I can make use of the cache of ammo I stumbled on, but this is still a seriously underutilized potential set piece. Even Harry can’t see anything of worth here.

Harry is useful for noticing the really important details, like people's workspace habits.
Harry is useful for noticing the really important details, like people's workspace habits.

… okay, maybe that doesn’t help my case much.

  Speaking of incredibly pointless uses of space, though, the vast majority of this side of town is useless. There are a couple of pickups to break up the monotony, as well as a couple of nicely designed areas, but it’s just a vast, open space with nothing going on. I’m actually kind of torn—it’s nice in that it gives a strong feeling of isolation, but that’s all it is. There’s nothing to discover and no real reward from exploration.

  I mean, I do discover the place that Travis had his final battle in (northern tip of Sagan Simmons), but since the door is locked I’m out of luck.

  After all is said and done, the only place to go is Alchemilla Hospital. Upon our approach, two gunshots ring out. That’s… foreboding.

Yawns-ville.
Yawns-ville.

  Nope, not good enough.

Spoooooooky!
Spoooooooky!

  Perfect.

  That’s all for today, Traipsers! Enjoy your weekend, and prepare yourselves for the next shocking episode and its shocking guest star, Is It Just Me, Or Did You Get Paunchy?

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

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