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  Bonjour, Traipsers! Previously, Harry had three back-to-back cutscenes broken up by about two minutes of running in a straightish line. The most recent cutscene accomplished precisely nothing, other than reintroduce Cybil and establish her as someone just a profoundly stupid as the rest of the principal cast. Long story short, Cybil may have kind of seen someone who may or may not have been Cheryl, but she was floating over the abyss and headed toward the lake, so there’s nothing more to say about that. Harry then decided to check out a hole he discovered in a criminal front disguised as the world’s shittiest antique shop.

  Alright! Gameplay! The hole deposits us in a hallway, which is a marked improvement of shuffling on our hands and knees for 45 seconds like our far more interesting protagonist, Travis, had to do in the previous game. To be fair to Origins, though, this is a surprisingly long hallway. Perhaps even “long-ass”, if we dare to dream. The hall terminates in another hole, which Harry plunges through.

  Unlike in Nullrigins, the “other church” is actually not at all impressive. There appears to be an altar, but I’d be pissed if I happened to be a deity and this is all the reverence I was afforded:

No, Harry. This is clearly a diner.
No, Harry. This is clearly a diner.

Sure, that snazzy red ribbon is all sexy and stuff, but come on, worshippers. The nightmare version of this place is just so much better.

  So, the main highlights of the room are the picture of… um… the patron saint of… red helmets? What the hell is that?

I'm pretty sure I usually get that class in Ultima, whatever it is.
I'm pretty sure I usually get that class in Ultima, whatever it is.

I think that’s supposed to be a picture of Samael, the cult’s god, but it looks awfully doofy. As Harry so adroitly notices, the chalice is filled with a white powder—possibly cocaine, possibly that magic drug Cybil thinks everyone is on…

Someone acting strangely? Fuck 'em--they're on drugs.
Someone acting strangely? Fuck 'em--they're on drugs.

… but definitely the shit that Travis got dusted with in the finale of Origins.

  There is also an additional weapon to add to our growing pile of things we will never, in any way, need or use and will, in fact, serve only reduce any amount of tension this game thinks it is building: the hand ax. So, between the altar, picture of the saddest god, a cup of marching powder, a sad little door that of course Harry can’t open…

The game's real enemy is the lack of an adequate locksmithing service.
The game's real enemy is the lack of an adequate locksmithing service.

… and the framed ax just ripe for the stealing…

As ya do.
As ya do.

… atheist graffiti…

C'mon, guy. Don't be a dick.
C'mon, guy. Don't be a dick.

… there’s nothing too outlandish for a cult. I mean, really, wouldn’t you be expecting, at the very least, an orgy?

  The cult’s Yelp reviews must be terrible.

  Anyway, the ax! It’s useless, just like anything and everything that isn’t a firearm or the emergency hammer! It doesn’t hit as hard as the hammer, has less range, and makes Harry look like a total shmuck when he uses it! The sole “advantage” of this weapon is that it has a pretty high rate of fire and you can move while using it. But considering Harry’s mobility rests between a potted plant and a sofa that’s been glued to the floor, why the hell is that an advantage?

One of the least embarrassing parts about Harry's day.
One of the least embarrassing parts about Harry's day.

  Now, any smart person would have, upon realizing the room was safe, called back to the person “covering” them and told them that the coast was clear. Especially if the other person was a cop and trained to look for weird shit at a potential crime scene, but especially especially if it looked like there was a chalice full of fucking drugs that would need to be confiscated.

  Harry is not a smart person.

  The only thing we can do at this point is leave the way we came, which naturally triggers a cutscene. The cocaine lights on fire, filling the room with a hellish red glow.

You know it's a great party when OH GOD, MY NOSTRILS HELP OH GOD
You know it's a great party when OH GOD, MY NOSTRILS HELP OH GOD

Then the screen goes to black. Cybil, all the way in the antique shop, “covering Harry”…

That's... not how you cover someone.
That's... not how you cover someone.

… notices that Harry hasn’t made a peep in a while and goes to investigate. Or maybe she heard him shriek “WHAT THE?” when the coke caught fire. Either way, when she emerges in the altar room, it’s empty, surprise of surprises.

  Harry comes to in the hospital with Lisa and…

  Wait, what?

  No. No, no, no no no!

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

  We are now in our fourth goddamn talky cutscene in four updates.

  True to form, Harry’s first real order of business is insulting Lisa by loudly announcing “Hey, you don’t look too good. You okay?” Sure, you may see it as human kindness, but if you’ve been following along you realize all too well that anything Harry does that doesn’t directly correlate to his daughter is filled with hatred and/or confusion.

  She brushes off his insult/concern and tells him that it’s nothing that he needs to concern himself with. Oh, you know what? I bet our lady Lisa needs herself a fix of the good stuff. Thanks, Origins!

  Anyway, Lisa tells Harry that he had passed out during their earlier conversation and, therefore, never left the hospital exam room. Harry then asks about Dahlia Gillespie, which… seems a bit out of left field, to be honest. Why didn’t he ask about Dr. Kaufmann? Outside of being incoherent, what makes her special enough that everyone in the zip code is questioned about her?

  Harry’s persistence pays off, though, as Lisa responds to this by essentially saying, “Oh, yeah, the crazy person.” Apparently, Dahlia is a local celebrity and the town recluse, which are things that apparently someone can be at the same time. Like, is she famous for being a muttering lunatic no one sees? Or is she famous for wandering into the supermarket occasionally and rambling dangerously in the snack food aisle?

  GROCER: Hello, Dahlia. Out of Cheese Nips again?
  DAHLIA: I KNEW THIS DAY WOULD COME.
  GROCER: Yes, I’m sure you did.

Now I’m picturing her on the television selling mattresses every President’s Day with her craaaaaazy prices.

  Anyway, Lisa heard that Dahlia’s kid (Alessa—SHE HAD A NAME, LISA, YOU INSENSITIVE MONSTER) died in a fire and Dahlia has been whackadoodle ever since.

  Oh, really, Lisa? You heard that that’s what happened? Or were you working at the hospital that day, you lying cultist scum!?

LIAR!
LIAR!

Answer me!

  Sadly, no matter how much I scream at the monitor, Lisa just ignores me, so I guess we’ll just have to accept that Lisa is a bad person. She did, however, at least give us some plot-pertinent information, which is more than just about every other character has done for us so far. So, I guess we can give her a pass just this once.

  Harry, curiosity about Dahlia satisfied (even though about half of that was information he already knew), then decides to ask about what Dahlia meant when she said that the town was being devoured by darkness. He… he really latched onto that phrase, didn’t he?

  You know what she fucking meant, Harry?

  SHE WAS REFERRING TO THE NIGHTMARE WORLD THAT BOTH YOU AND LISA ARE PRESENTLY HAVING A CONVERSATION IN, YOU STUPID, STUPID MAN!

  But because everyone is thicker than whale gravy, Lisa thinks that it might have to do with the fact that pre-Silent Hill-as-resort-town townsfolk practiced a weird religion that was pretty into the whole occult and black magic scene. So… you know… the cult. The same cult that Lisa is either a member of or has some kind of knowledge of. It’s not like there weren’t books written on the subject in the Silent Hill universe. Hell, everyone was fine with the Artaud putting on The Tempest with imagery inspired by/stolen from the cult.

  But whatever!

  Then, because things were starting to possibly look like they may make sense, we start peeling back the layers and exposing some of the absolutely bat-shittingest lines of the game. From the mouth of Lisa: “As young people moved away, people figured they’d been summoned by the gods. Evidently, things like that used to happen around here all the time.”

  …

  What?

  What the fucking what?

  The line about young people moving away to be away from their dangerously unhinged parents doesn’t make a lick of sense. Like, their parents thought that they were called away by the gods? So? What the hell do you even mean? That conversations at the local coffee shop consisted of trying to convince one another that their children moved to fucking Boise for some kind of religious reason rather than to save themselves from a life of cocaine-fueled spiritual insanity?

  And then to follow it up by saying “that kind of thing”—so people moving away—happened all the time… it’s just… people move, Lisa. It’s a thing that happens. Just… shut up. What you’re saying is stupid.

  Like, are you talking about children dying in house fires? Is that the kind of thing that happened all the time? Why won’t you just say what you mean? Why is everyone in this game huffing carbon monoxide between takes?

  Then, out of nowhere, Lisa says this lovely non-sequitor:

... I... I just... what?
... I... I just... what?

  Flipped out about what? Like, do you mean “flipped out” like they were panicked? Or something else? Like they were spaced-out hippies high on the Mary Jane? Because that’s not what the idiom means.

  Oh, my god, please Lisa, just tell me something coherent! Why would everyone be flipped out about it if the entire town was a part of this religion? No one would care! Child sacrifice would be how you celebrate Thanksgiving, not a cause for alarm! Is it about the kids moving away? They weren’t being devoured by nightmares from beyond the veil, they just packed their shit and left town because their parents were fanatics! What are we blaming on whom?

  After this, apparently a bunch of people showed up and developed the town into the resort hotspot it is today. The cult activity died down, and then a couple of years ago a bunch of people who were responsible for turning the town into slightly less of a shithole died in accidents. People said it was a curse, but a curse for what is something that Lisa never explains. It’s just a generic curse, I guess. We know (thanks to Origins) that the indigenous people were driven off their lands, so I think that would be potential curse material before religious nutjobs, but whatever.

  So, long story short: “There were people who were in a cult and then all the young people ran away to get as far as possible from their parents’ weirdness. The remaining shut-in idiots all convinced themselves that their children were summoned by god rather than face up to the fact that their shittiness made their kids’ run away screaming into the night. Then people developed the resort and subsequently died. Somehow, this was a curse and that totally justifies what’s going on.”

  Christ, Lisa, that’s so fucking stupid that I really want to give you a chance to write a second draft of that shit.

  See, this could have been fixed with one simple change:

Oh, my god, that makes sense with everything you're saying! WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS!?
Oh, my god, that makes sense with everything you're saying! WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS!?

If I may be so bold, this may be what they were going for. But since they never directly say “disappear” or “sacrifice” or any words that have that denotation, we’re left with a profoundly useless mass of gibberish that is now canon. That is to say, people in Silent Hill can’t deal with loss due to their own awful behavior, so they rationalize it by saying “GAWDS DID IT”. Super healthy.

  If you take nothing else from this moment, take this: WORDS MEAN THINGS.

  Anyway, Lisa leaves us with the single best line I’ve heard over the course of four conversations with incredibly dense people.

YES, PLEASE.
YES, PLEASE.

  And with a fade out, today comes to its sputtering, kind of pointless conclusion! We are absolutely no closer to our goal, nor is there anything substantial in the way of justification for what the hell is going on! Next up is the highly anticipated episode, Actual Goddamn Gameplay!

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

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