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Part Title

  Happy travels to you all, Traipsers! Last time, Harry lowered a drawbridge, wandered about a bit, and was accosted by weird ape-monsters that for whatever reason are now prowling the streets of our title-tastic city. We also had reached Alchemilla Hospital on the orders of Dahlia a mysterious woman who didn’t give us a single reason to follow her directions. Two gunshots were heard as we made our way up the streets, so let’s see what awaits us inside the walls that no less than Travis mother fuckin’ Grady cleared out about seven years ago, shall we?

  The hospital is… a lot nicer than we left it, with some posh new marble flooring and significantly less refuse from construction cluttering the joint. So that’s nifty. The entryway is mostly empty, save for an unreachable map of the hospital behind the reception desk and a notepad. Walking beyond the notepad triggers a third gunshot to sound out.

  You know, going by Harry’s hyper hearing, couldn’t we have just made it so that he hears the gunshots outside and heads inside of his own volition? It’d be a bit more organic than having some lady blather incoherently for a minute before directing us here.

  Anyway, the only unlocked door leads to this lovely tableau:

I like how they make the wall on the right vanish. Because that's how vision works.
I like how they make the wall on the right vanish. Because that's how vision works.

  I’m not sure what to make of this scene. Why was the door in the hallway closed, but the door in the pre-rendered cinematic slightly ajar? Was this a therapy session gone wrong? Why was he just sitting in a chair in the middle of the room? That’s obviously a bird-demon…

So... we gonna talk about that, or not?
So... we gonna talk about that, or not?

… so how did it get in? Did it waddle in through the hallway after it somehow unlatched the front door? There’s like a billion windows in this place, but none of them are broken—not even the only one in the room.

I... just... what the hell was he doing in here?
I... just... what the hell was he doing in here?

  But before we’re able to ask any of these pertinent questions, the guy gets up and attacks Harry!

Behold! One of the goofiest, inexplicable things about Silent Hill!
Behold! One of the goofiest, inexplicable things about Silent Hill!

As in, directly attacks Harry, shooting from the hip directly at our hero at a distance of about, what, six feet? Somehow, this misses Harry, or he’s immune to bullets. Either way, he is able to cower in the corner before Captain Business Suit empties any more rounds into Harry (well, the walls in and around Harry, apparently). He announces that he is not here to fight, and that his name is Harry Mason, who is in town on vacation.

  This entire setup—bird, chair, clearly being shot with no ramifications—is far stupider than it should be, but the rhyme “My name is Harry Mason, I’m in town on vacation,” more than makes up for it.

  The guy is relieved to see another human being and introduces himself as Dr. Michael Kaufmann. Ah, so we meet again, Dr. Skeeves. Good to see that in the seven years since Silent Hill: Origins, you haven’t been brought up on enough charges to be removed from your position in Alchemilla. It must be so good that you’re continuing a proud tradition of making this shitty town even worse with your apocalyptically bad work environment.

  What? Sorry, there’s a cutscene. Harry doesn’t know he’s evil yet, so… you know… we’ll drop this for now.

Whatever you do, Harry, don't accept a 'flex off'.
Whatever you do, Harry, don't accept a 'flex off'.

  He claims that he was taking a nap in the staffroom and when he woke up, it was all fucked up. Now, he asserts that he doesn’t know what’s happening, but we know that’s bullshit because we’ve played Nullrigins. Lucky for Sexual Malcontent, M.D., Harry is an idiot doesn’t have the same information that we do and therefore doesn’t pick up on the lie.

  Anyway, Skeeves lets it drop that everyone has indeed disappeared (as opposed to merely hiding from Harry) and that the snow isn’t natural for this time of year. One of the reasons that I like the snow/rain in this game is this moment right here—when I first started playing the game, no one commented on the weather at all. It was just foggy and snowing, no big deal. Dr. Kaufmann’s revelation that it’s actually wrong for the time of year is another level of weirdness on top of an already bad day.

  But here’s the big question: why doesn’t Cybil or Harry or, hell, even Dahlia mention it? It takes forever for them to acknowledge that the persistent weather that we’ve gotten used to is wrong. Sure, they bring it up in the manual, but come on. Not even a casual “Snow… that’s fucked up…” in between all the questioning of wheelchairs in schools and other moments of supreme stupidity?

  Anyway, the bigger deal to me is that Kaufmann acknowledges the presence of monsters. He does this by asking the same question three times, then just skips over Harry’s input. I mean, I can’t blame the guy, but that’s still unnecessarily assholish.

The eye contact is getting a bit uncomfortable, doc.
"The eye contact is getting a bit uncomfortable, doc."

Really, the best part of this is the use of the term “aberrations”, which I totally love and may have pilfered for my own nefarious purposes. Other than that, though, just… Jesus fucking Christ, there is no need for asking one question this many times. If Dr. K was having a breakdown, sure, go nuts, but he’s saying it all stoically and shit.

  Which means that he is intentionally wasting our time.

  Ugh, Dr. Skeeves, you are the worst.

  Harry asks if the doctor has seen his daughter and once more gives a quick description, again without mentioning Cheryl’s name. To the surprise of no one, Herr Doctor knows not about a tyke running about creature infested streets. True to form, Skeeves just assumes that the girl’s dead because monsters, and also he has a terrible bedside manner on top of being a rapist and attempted child murderer.

  For what it’s worth, Dr. K apologizes for his foot-in-mouth disease. Honestly, though, he has a pretty realistic outlook.

  Kaufmann asks if Harry’s wife is with him, to which Harry reveals that she’s dead. After that… Dr. K just kind of leaves.

  “Well, I’d better be going. I can’t just sit around doing nothing,” the supposed doctor announces on his way out the door.

  Harry, sensing something is up, is quick to respond, “So long. Good luck out there.”

  …

  What? What the fucking what, Harry? This is not a “let’s split up” situation! Where the hell does he think he’s going? Is he making house calls? In the middle of goddamn Ragnarok? Stop him! The guy is handy with a gun, has medical experience, and doesn’t seem to be bat shit insane—this is a guy you want with you! The only reason anyone would be okay with letting him go like that would be if they A) knew he was a bad guy, or B) were alright with Harry bumbling around by himself.

  See, here’s the big problem with this: Harry should at least be asking a single question about where he can find Dr. K, or propose sticking together. And even at a narrative level, there is a canonical explanation for why Kaufmann would actually want to keep tabs on Harry, and another one for getting them separated in a matter of moments. And are you telling me that a man who hasn’t seen a single human being for hours would be so quick to just walk away?

  I get that he’s evil. Hell, everyone who has been reading along knows this guy is a superdouche. But Harry doesn’t, and Dr. K has no reason to suspect that he’s anything but some bumbling fuckwit that could be useful for demon-distracting purposes.

  Anyway, that cutscene is now over, and we are free to move about. Our first order of business is to cut through a back route to the reception area, where we can get ahold of Alchemilla’s map as well as an always-welcome first aid kit.

For Reference
For Reference

Pay no attention to the basement for now. It’s not included in the first map pickup for whatever… hey, wait a hat-tipping minute… there’s no staffroom! There’s no staffroom!

  SKEEEEEEEVES!

  We cut back through the examination room to get to the medicine room. In here, there is a newspaper whose sole purpose is to tell us that an article has been clipped out of it. No date, no other pertinent information. Just that an article has been removed. I’m sure that whatever was taken will have no impact on anything whatsoever. It was probably a The Far Side comic.

Thank god this was here.
Thank god this was here.

  The medicine room leads to a hallway, which in turn leads to what looks like a staffroom, but it’s labeled as a doctor’s office. Truly, the topsy-turvy world of Silent Hill has brought down inscrutable horrors. Also, why would the staff have to cut through a doctor’s office to get to the conference room? Look at that; wouldn’t that be supremely annoying?

  Anyway, there’s a basement map on the counter of the staffroom doctor’s office, completing our Alchemilla Architects Play Set. When we break into the conference room, we discover the basement key, pre-emptively solving a problem that we didn’t even knew we had!

  Our next step is the kitchen, which was inaccessible in Origins. The kitchen has a health drink, but there’s also a plastic bottle hidden in the back. There’s actually a bunch of them, and Harry instinctively knows it’s for something important, even though unlike just about every other collectible item in the game, it blends in with its surroundings.

Sure, the camera's emphasizing it, but it also actively conspires against us without warning.
Sure, the camera's kind of emphasizing them, but it also actively conspires against you 70% of the time.

  Our final stop on this floor is the director’s office. The place is… ransacked. It looks as though the place was poured through in a search for something. Whoever did it was so poor at hiding their tracks that Harry actually notices something is off.

Pictured: Harry getting dangerously close to putting two and two together.
Pictured: Harry getting dangerously close to putting two and two together.

Whatever they were looking for, it looks like they found it in the director’s desk—a bottle of red liquid is smashed in the back of the office.

Notice how he doesn't mention anything about it looking like any of it is salvageable.
Notice how he doesn't mention anything about it looking like any of it is salvageable.

So, in most cases, something with a zoom up is meant to be interacted with in some way—the old man’s hand, the creepy corpse door, the rubber-ball-sized hole in the gutter—so I guess we can do so here. Checking my inventory for something to use, I stumble upon the plastic bottle. Commanded hence, lo, Harry doth pour some red liquid into his plastic bottle.

Game Developers: It's never a good idea to have your protagonist wonder aloud why the fuck they did something.
Game Developers: It's never a good idea to have your protagonist wonder aloud why the fuck they did something.

  So… I guess that’s that.

  SIDE NOTE: This seemingly inconsequential moment—red liquid smashed on the floor—is one of the most important moments in the game for determining what variation of the ending you get. And it’s annoying. We don’t know what the red liquid is or why it’s important, only that someone doesn’t want it around. Harry doesn’t comment that there’s enough to salvage. The plastic bottles in the kitchen blend in unlike 90% of the quest items we’ve had up to this point.

  It’s not utterly impossible to figure out, mind you. It’s just an unnecessary hurdle. The second half of this puzzle, however… that’s where things go from annoying to outright stupid. END SIDE NOTE.

  The elevators are out of order at the moment, so the only thing to do is head into the basement. Unlocking the door puts us next to three soon-to-be-dead super roaches. Most of the rooms down here are locked, save for the generator room. In a remarkable display of restraint, all we have to do is push a button in order to restore the generator to life. I guess it wouldn’t make sense for a hospital to have a piano puzzle to solve to get the generator to wake up. When we examine the generator, we are presented with another “Do you want to continue the game? Y/N” decision, so I guess that’s kind of a puzzle. In any case, Harry pushes the button.

  From here, we have full access to the hospital! So let’s head into the elevator and see what’s what!

Red hot elevator button action!
Red hot elevator button action!

  Okay, so floor two! That’s where Travis first fought a mutant nurse in Origins! There’s gotta be something exciting…

Huh. Well, that's not unusual. I mean, this is Silent Hill, land of broken doors.
Huh. Well, that's not unusual. I mean, this is Silent Hill, land of broken doors.

… oh. Okay. Well, how about the third floor?

... Fuck.
... Fuck. (I swear this is a different floor)

Well, now this is getting silly. Why did we even bother activating the elevator anyway? What kind of…

Can I go home now?
Can I go home now?

… huh. That’s… that’s not good.

  And we teeter on the precipice of madness! Join me next time for We Hope You Enjoyed Your Serving of Genuine Horror—For Additional Scares, Please Accept These Loud Noises as a Substitute.

BONUS MATERIAL:

Behold, the staffroom, cleverly disguised as a shared office.
Behold, the staffroom, cleverly disguised as a shared office. Or is it the other way around?

I love how the conference table is wedged into the room, and then a chaise wedged into the corner. Comfortable!
I love how the conference table is wedged into the room, and then a chaise wedged into the corner. Comfortable!

Dance like no one's watching, Harry.
Dance like no one's watching, Harry.


Less stupid than talking to Creepy Lady, still completely unlike real human interactions.

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

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