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  Traipsers! Unite up! Last time on our harrowing journey through haunted hospitals, we solved a dopey puzzle involving Mock Turtle, pointlessly beat up some tentacles, killed a bunch of people monsters, and had Harry’s wanking arm fall off. Today we continue our journey through Alchemilla!

Reference!
Reference!

  We are now located on the second floor’s east wing… hold on a minute. If you look at the map above, you’ll see that there are actually more than three floors in Alchemilla. Look at that—there’s a stairwell that leads up, presumably in the real world where we got the fucking map. What the hell? So was the nightmare reality hiding the fourth floor from us on our first two trips through the elevator, only to reveal it once all the parasitized staff got into position for Harry’s surprise birthday party gone horribly wrong? Or was this an oversight?

I praised you!You were supposed to be the chosen one!
So... I guess the one on the left is the actual scary one? Like, the one that doesn't represent reality?

  I honestly thought up until now that Alchemilla was only three floors plus a basement. I suppose I was wrong. But, then again, why does the map then only go up three floors?

  Well, that’s not the stupidest thing we’ve dealt with up until now, so our first stop on this floor is the operating prep room. Obviously, the room itself consists of a perimeter of chain link flooring hovering above a void while two nurses patrol. You know, pretty standard hospital stuff.

Where else would they put the failures?
Where else would they put the failures?

  The operating room is guarded by a nurse, who is quickly felled by Harry and his mighty war hammer. Our reward is the basement storeroom key that someone has carelessly left on a gurney. This will unlock a door somewhere in this hospital, although I can’t really be sure where. Maybe it’s back up on Schrödinger’s fourth floor.

  We pop back out into the main hall only to dart into the ICU. There is a bottle of disinfecting alcohol in here, along with a nurse that will in no way be able to reach you if you walk up to the item, take it, turn around, and walk out. Why she’s there is anyone’s guess, but when all is said and done, she will be the only living thing left in the nightmare hospital to not have its skull squelched in. Harry’s mercy is inconsistent, but when you get it you don’t ask questions.

  So, what we can do here is now head to the elevator vestibule and unlock the door, allowing us to take said elevator to the basement, first, and second floor. I may have unlocked the third floor’s vestibule as well, but it was largely a pointless action.

Not that this series is a stranger to such things.
Not that this series is a stranger to such things.

  The basement hasn’t changed, other than the fact that the two dead nurses have long since evaporated into the ether. We unlock the storeroom and find some ammo boxes. There is also a conspicuously movable cabinet in the back, along with Scooby Doo Brand E-Z Read Telltale Scratches™ along the floor.

So Obvious, Harry Can See It!
"So Obvious, Harry Can See It!"--Scooby Doo Brand E-Z Read TellTale Scratches Marketing Department

Moving this reveals a door, through which is a mini-storeroom which has a grate in the floor that happens to be covered in vines.

Oh, yeah, sure. Happens all the time.
Oh, yeah, sure. Happens all the time.

  Apparently, the vines are too tough for Harry to hack through with his emergency hammer or kitchen knife. The grate is also too sturdy to simply be blown off its hinges with the shotgun. The vines are also somehow alive enough to not be good kindling for the lighter on its own, yet dry enough to look dead.

  The solution is to dump the isopropyl alcohol on it and then light the vines on fire.

Who thought it was a good idea to give Harry a lighter?
It was only after the fire department had snuffed the last flames that they realized it was a bad idea to have given Harry a lighter.

Somehow, this also results in the metal grate being immediately cool enough to touch and travel through. This is yet another in a long line of “weird ass keys instead of legitimate puzzle” that we keep on stumbling across. Oh, to play the piano just one more time…

  As an aside, what if you didn’t know that alcohol was flammable? Not Harry, as I’m assuming his unique combination of unique stupidity-based disorders makes him aware of alcohol being ignitable, but what if the player doesn’t? It’s not like the game tells you that it’s flammable—just that it’s disinfecting alcohol of the isopropyl variety. And it’s not like the graphics are good enough to show a warning label, even if there was one. So… yeah.

  On the plus side, the bottle of alcohol is probably one of the least suspicious things that Harry has picked up on his journey through the underdark.

  Anyway, venturing down through the magical self-cooling floor grate leads us to a hallway, which leads to another hallway holding a nursing convention. Two out of the three are taken out easily, while the third tries to play dead. Unfortunately for her and her lumpy parasite, my trusty radio foils her plan to selfishly not die.

  In yet another fucking hallway in this unmapped area, there are two more nurses to turn into compost. The first is sent to the great malpractice suit in the sky, while the second somehow manages to phase through my emergency hammer attack to choke Harry, then manages to stab him for good measure. Too little, too late—Harry’s bloodlust wreaks terrible vengeance on the practitioner who dreamed of being an end boss.

  The first enterable room in this final hallway has one (1) video cassette and one (1) nurse very dead nurse. The next room has the looping sound of shattering glass. Yup, the developers thought it would squeeze in one more room of jump scares in before you final run around. The best part? It plays indefinitely until you leave. Subtle!

  What is that supposed to do? Is someone just freaking the fuck out in our reality and bashing all these bottles like they ran over their dog? I guess a little context is a touch too much to ask in this situation, or, you know, ever.

  The final room drops us into a cutscene.

This... this is really all there is to it.
This... this is really all there is to it.

Upon first entering, Harry somehow determines that someone has been here. How he determines this is never established. In any case, he wanders over a nearby medical console and spots a framed picture.

Behold! The only moment of plot progression in Alchemilla!
Behold! The only moment of plot progression in Alchemilla!

  Harry now finally has the name I’ve been flaunting in his face because I played Origins and this poor dope didn’t have the foresight to do so. Also, there’s an exam room key which I pick up, because plot. I mean, how else are we going to see what is behind the clop-clop door?

  Maintaining his M-M-Monster Combo! from last episode’s ridiculousness, Harry is shocked—SHOCKED!—to discover that there is a bed in the hospital.

I can not let the precense of a bed go unremarked!
I can not let the precense of a bed go unremarked!

Not a word on the chair at the foot of the bed or the IV stand—neither of which are particularly weird, mind you. But still. A bed!? In a HOSPITAL!? Everyone knows patients sleep in the vents!

  Now, I’m aware that this is supposed to be all scary and weird, but we haven’t really explored the real world version of this hospital in any significant capacity—how do we know that this isn’t the nightmare world fucking with us? It’s done it before—I doubt that the custodian of Midwich had an elevator located behind the boiler which led to his secret lizard zoo.

  Also, for the love of god, this is unusual but not out of place. It’s a hospital room in a hospital. How is this in any way different from the other beds you've seen in this shithole? Take a fucking chill pill, guy.

  Anyway, that’s the extent of this basement’s basement. So, with our theft of vital plot related bullshit accomplished, let’s leave whoever is in the exam room alone a bit longer and hit the third floor for its completely-logical-and-in-no-way-awfully-convenient VCR and television set and see what’s on this shitty cassette tape!

  You know, I once had a friend who told me that we were only friends because I had a Nintendo.

  We didn’t stay friends for very long.

  Anyway, popping the cassette into the VCR gives us this:

Hey, this isn't Transformers!
Hey, this isn't Transformers!

Um… okay. So there’s a static-y screen and some mangled gibberish about… a patient? Maybe? Probably Alessa. Who knows, maybe it’s a VHS copy of that terrible Silent Hill movie where Alessa was Satan or whatever.

  In any case, that sure was helpful!

  Alright, so I guess we had better see who’s waiting for us in the exam room. So let’s head down some stairs and see what’s what.

  Opening the door gets us this:

  Oh, hey! It’s Lisa! We know Lisa!

Boy, this comes in handy!
Boy, this comes in handy!

  Lisa is super grateful to see another person which, to be honest, I totally understand. Harry, however, isn’t so thrilled—when he introduces himself, he sounds so fucking exasperated that I kind of want to punch him in the dick. I mean, more so than normal. Maybe he misses Dr. Skeeves.

Who can blame him?
Who can blame him?

  Lisa wants Harry to explain what’s going on in town, which is a shame because Harry is a colossal moron on the best of days. I guess what I’m saying is that Lisa had better brace herself for disappointment. She claims that she must have gotten knocked out and everyone was gone when she came to. This may seem familiar, because it’s basically Dr. K’s story, only replace “nap” with “violently bludgeoned”. I mean, we don’t normally use the term knocked out when it doesn’t involve a concussive blow, right?

  When given a chance to respond to Lisa’s question of what the fuck is going on, Harry responds, literally, with this:

Fuck you and your stupid lack of consciousness in a crisis situation, Lisa.
"Fuck you and your stupid lack of consciousness in a crisis situation, Lisa."

I fucking hate Harry. He is such a fucking dick. I’m not overreacting here—he has done nothing but schlep around, make the worst possible decisions, ask the worst possible questions, finds the dumbest shit possible to think weird, and has treated a legitimately terrified human being like shit.

  Go to hell, Harry Mason, you sack of human waste.

  The next exchange is profoundly stupid, but let me sum up:

  HARRY: This place is fucked up.
  LISA: I agree.
  HARRY: Have you seen a girl with black hair around?
  LISA: I told you I was unconscious. No.

  Twenty-three words to accomplish what the game does in sixty-six. Harry says something, Lisa parrots it (one particular line she repeats it twice! For drama!). Seriously, did this game not have an editor? Just one person who could have tightened the dialogue so that they didn’t end up saying already established shit multiple fucking times?

  And seriously, he once a-fucking-gain leaves out pertinent information like what his daughter is wearing, her height, or her fucking name. I am so sick of this asshole.

  Oh, and when Lisa says she didn’t see anyone because, you know, not being conscious, Harry says “Alright,” like Lisa should be ashamed of herself for not knowing where his precious baby girl is. Am I wrong in assuming that Harry’s the one who dropped the ball on this whole parenting thing, or is that completely uncalled for?

  Anyway, Harry asks Lisa about the basement. Specifically, Harry asks if she knows anything about the “weird stuff” in the basement.

Weird stuff. Butt stuff.
Weird stuff. Butt stuff.

  Just so we’re clear here, this is Harry’s list of weird stuff in the basement:

  A bed.*
  An IV stand.
  A medical console.
  A chair.
  A cabinet with some pill bottles on it.
  A photograph.*

  * = Something “weird” that he will actually comment on if you want him to.

  This is the basement of a hospital, mind you. Not, say, an industrial park on the outskirts of town or a church or a bank. A hospital. Why is it so perplexing that there would be hospital things in a hospital basement? And don’t give me that “Well, it was a secret!” excuse, because Harry would have no reason to think it’s a secret, let alone a secret that Lisa would know about. For what we know, the basement only exists in the nightmare! Goddamn it, people!

  Lisa responds in the negative, prompting Harry’s less than enthused response of, “Don’t you work here?”

Do you even nurse?
Do you even nurse?

It’s honestly a hilarious line that I yell at Ashlie without provocation now. Don’t worry—she does the same to me.

  Now, before it appears that Lisa is actually somehow more clueless than Harry and thus undoing the very fabric of the universe by being an impossible creature, it should be pointed out that she is clearly lying (thanks Origins!). Either that, or she’s been working at Alchemilla for seven years and has yet to go to the basement. But… then why was she in Origins?

LIAR!
LIAR!

  She says that they are under STRICT ORDERS to NEVER GO INTO THE BASEMENT. Which seems really odd, because if that’s the case, why hide the entrance behind a cabinet? That’s awfully suspicious, and it’s made all the worse because you’re shrieking at people to stay out of a place that you’re obviously defensive about. Also, you put your evil lair in the back of a storage room of your 9-to-5—why the fuck would you do that? People need equipment, Kaufmann, ya fucking idiot. Do they have you personally fetch stuff when they need it? That’s gotta be goddamn exhausting!

  Unless that Scooby-Doo-villain shit really is just a nightmare reality thing, but still, why not just hang a sign that says “authorized personnel only”? Hell, hang an “under construction” sign or something. Or here’s an idea—make sure that you, Dr. K, are the only one with a key!

  Actually, you know what I just realized? There was absolutely no reason for Dr. Kaufmann to have declared Alessa dead back in Origins. There was no reason at all! You want to know why? Because she’d be given medical care at the hospital. Crispy Alessa could have been rushed to Alchemilla, then just taken to a regular, isolated room. Sure, nurses and doctors would know about her, but so the fuck what? Who was going to make a connection that she was burned alive as part of some cult-related bullshit? No one, that’s who!

  Think about it: the police chief is probably in the cult’s pocket, Dr. K certainly is, and Alessa’s mother orchestrated the whole thing. That means that faking Alessa’s death is the single worst thing they could have done for their nefarious plan. I mean, if anyone had a crisis of conscience, where were they going to go? What could they legitimately do? Dr. Skeeves isn’t about to let some dipshit whiner get in the way of his vague plans!

  But we need a conspiracy, no matter how stupid and self-defeating it is, so fake her death! Loudly tell people to stay out of the basement! Hide a door behind a goddamn cabinet! Assumingly still require your staff to keep her from dying! Silent fucking Hill!

  Before Harry can explain what’s down there at Lisa’s request, he gets a headache and sirens start sounding in the distance. Then he dies like a champ, with Lisa’s words of, “Let me help you. Harry,” ringing in his ears.

  I’m going out on a limb and saying that was one of the most pointless of conversations we’ve had to this point. And if not, then it’s certainly a contender for “worst camera work”, considering there were only four camera angles, three of them were static, and one lasted for approximately 81 seconds of a cutscene about 125 seconds long. That’s 65% of that appallingly stupid conversation spent in one very specific, uninteresting shot looking at two dipshits in a dark and dirty room Awesome!

  That’s all for today, Traipsers! Will Harry not be dead in time for part seventeen? Find out next time on the next thrilling installment, Out of One Stupid Conversation, Into Another.

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

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