home bio blog armyofdarkness media projects contact

Newest Entries
Archives


Part Title

  Traipsers, we return again to the foggy streets of Silent Hill! Previously, we ran around screaming our lungs out in the dark in order to have Lisa tell us how to get to the lake. She basically suggested a sewer level, so she continued to not endear herself to me, a situation further exacerbated by her staunch refusal to leave the hospital for reasons.

Pictured: How Harry would have responded if he were both a dick AND not raised on a diet of paint thinner.
Pictured: How Harry would have responded if he were both a dick AND not raised on a diet of paint thinner.

Said entrance to the sewer level/waterworks is located by the elementary school, which the nightmare world was not letting us anywhere near. Fortunately, it tried to stop us by sicing a terrifying boss monster on us…

Or, you know, this goofy-ass thing.
Or, you know, this goofy-ass thing.

… which ended for said beast about as well as sending a butt-slapping giant moth after a heavily armed maniac as could be expected.

That is to say, poorly.
That is to say, poorly.

Anyway, the moth took the nightmare world with it and booted us back to reality.

  Our first order of business is to run all the way back to the school, and by that I mean we just run back to the bridge. After that, we’re somehow teleported to the entrance to the waterworks. I’m not really complaining about this—it just seems a little odd to do that here and now. It also takes the time to actually show you the map…

... Why?
... Why?

… just in case you’re super confused about being dropped directly where you need to go and into a cutscene explaining it rather than having to run through the streets and face-first into said cutscene.

Yes. I can see why the map was super necessary.
Yes. I can see why the map was super necessary.

  Anyway, when we reach the entrance to our oh-so-fun sewer level, we encounter this little tidbit of descriptive information:

What was your plan B, Harry?
Just curious: what was your plan B, Harry?

This is game code for “smash it with a melee weapon”. So whip out whichever weapon you like and teach that padlock a lesson. A couple of swings will provide you access.

  And, no, you can’t actually hit the lock until you examine the door. Chalk another item up under the “arbitrary thing you can’t do until the gods of whim have been satisfied” list.

  So, I understand that even modern games have to put in artificial restrictions on what is and is not accessible. I’m not operating under some kind of delusion that every building and every room should or even needs to be fleshed out or detailed. But the main form of preventing Harry from getting all up in people’s stuff is the old “lock is broken/door is jammed” description. Which works… to a point. Specifically, this one. Why?

  This one moment shows that Harry could have broken down doors at any time.

  I don’t know why they just didn’t have Harry stroll up and the door is blown off its hinges, or that someone else unlocked it. There are at least three other human beings and one supernatural entity strolling about this town that could have reasonably undone the lock. But—for whatever reason—it was decided that the best course of action was to have Harry break the lock himself, even though it invalidates almost every locked door.

  Further muddying the decision to have this whole “break the lock” moment is that when we go into the fenced-off area, the entrance has already been opened, with the metal cover carefully and deliberately placed up against a nearby building.

Remember: The apocalypse is no excuse to leave falling hazards exposed to the world.
Remember: The apocalypse is no excuse to leave falling hazards exposed to the world.

Considering that I doubt this “abandoned” waterworks would be so freely open, how did whoever come through here earlier manage to slip over the barbed wire? Or did they undo the existing padlock, come in, and put a new one on, all while on the other side of the fence? Or did someone leave the waterworks and chain the place up behind him or her, accidentally neglecting re-sealing the entrance and leaving a massive and fatal hazard open to the world? For all the over-analyzed shit in this game, where is the ream and a half of data on this little incongruity?

  I… I guess I just really don’t like the idea that breaking shit was an option that Harry never once fucking considered.

  It also is really, really lucky that no one hid any pertinent objects behind doors with jammed locks. That would have been embarrassing.

  Once again, I know this is a video game and limitations of the medium, blah-de-blah. But think about this. Harry comes upon a room in a hospital full of horrors. He hears a sound that’s decidedly unlike the monstrous moans of the other denizens.

In his defense, it is just a sound.
In his defense, it is just a sound.

The door is locked, but in just a moment, he gets an emergency hammer that looks like it can rip its way through the wood. Why would you even look for the key when you could either A) knock the knob off with the weapon, or B) tear through the wooden frame with a couple of hearty whacks?

  Long story short, don’t hang a lamp shade on your shitty design ideas. It’s a bad idea all around. Also, fuck you, game.

  Anyway, the sewers!

THROBBING LADDER ACTION
THROBBING LADDER ACTION

The sewers, like every game ever, is boring and stupid. It’s full of linear halls with monsters and a surprising number of twisty paths for what amounts to a straight line. Also, as per the Video Game Sewer Act of 1994, there are also dead ends with goodies that automatically make the tedium seem just a touch longer than it actually lasts. So that’s something we can look forward to.

  Also, this actually acts as the first real point of no return. As in, once you’re in the sewers, you can’t go back to the earlier areas of the game.

Why here? Why now? Why anything anymore?
Why here? Why now? Why anything anymore?

Hopefully you scavenged all the shit you can before venturing in. I’m not entirely sure why this is where they draw the line in the sand, but whatever.

  In this particular sewer, there are two enemies, and for whatever reason (perhaps due to AM signals not being able to penetrate underground or good ol’ fashioned contrivance), the radio doesn’t work. Examining it just makes Harry say “Can’t use it here,” so I’m guessing it’s more to do with laziness on Harry’s part than anything else. Anyway, enemy one is the cockroach, which still endlessly squeaks and nibbles on your feet for middling damage. The bigger threat, I guess, are these loud-as-hell lizard things.

CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK
CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK

  They don’t have a lot of stamina, but they have pretty substantial reach with their gangly claws. Said claws are probably one of the more painful attacks to suffer in the game, so I would advise not getting hit if at all possible. If you’re quick, your emergency hammer can keep them out of striking distance, but it’s always a smarter option to run around them and smash their weird-ass lumpy heads in from behind. They do not grapple and will mostly rely on either their cockroaches or the player’s apathy to keep Harry in a vulnerable position.

  In keeping with the terrible decision to have a sewer level at all and the decision to not have the radio function, there are a couple of “gotcha!” moments where the lizards will be around blind corners, forcing you to either take a hit or awkwardly back up. The little bastards’ speed will usually just push you into a corner, where you’re going to get Harry’s shins savaged. At this point, back up until they clear your escape route and run. Or just do a quick turn (L1+R1) and run away. Or, you know… murder them. Whatever floats your boat.

Murder. Murder floats Harry's boat.
Murder. Murder floats Harry's boat.

  They also crawl along the ceiling to swipe at Harry’s head. They make a pretty unsettling screeching noise when they take a swing, but they’ll never hit so long as you keep moving faster than a leisurely stroll. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of putting them on the ceiling. You usually can’t see them, you’re probably running everywhere… so I guess it’s just to provide a cheap jump scare in this highly cerebral horror game that is above such overused tropes.

  They also have green blood, which you will find out when you realize it only takes one emergency hammer swing to kill them. Or, if you’re in a pistol-y mood, only three bullets. So… yeah. They’re revamped demon children, just with the grapple exchanged for horribly ineffective gravity boots. Not the gravest threat in the world, but still scarier than Mothra was.

  After much aimless wandering and monster murder, we find a sewer map in what appears to be the worst fucking office location in the world.

If you can't see it, there's water constantly dripping from the ceiling.
If you can't see it, there's water constantly dripping from the ceiling.

The official title of this item is Sewer map (connecting to resort area). You know what this means? I mean, other than it’s clearly a sewer level and not a waterworks level, like we were promised?

  There’s gonna be another sewer level! I’m so goddamn thrilled!

Reference
Reference

We are presently on the first floor in the upper-right corner. That’s where this underlit desk/office area is. There’s a notepad if you want to save your game, but there’s also a key item in this room. Look at the screenshot about. It’s somewhere there.

  Give up?

  You have to examine that key rack for an invisible fucking key. I’m not kidding. This is the first and only time this happens in the entire game. The stupid health-drink-in-the-nightmare-hospital’s-vending-machine moment is absolutely nothing compared to this little fuck you to the player.

  And you may be thinking, “Well, it is a key rack, Jonathan.”

  And I would remind you that the developers never conveyed that you would ever have to search for an invisible key item to progress through the game, contrarian asshole.

  Well, key in hand, we have to run all the way back through the monsters to get to that central-ish area which leads to the southern leg of the sewer. Unlocking the gate will take us down the path which, in turn, will take us to a ladder which puts us on the second floor of the underground waterworks.


STEAMY LADDER ACTION RIGHT IN YOUR FACE HOLE

I’m… not entirely sure that makes sense, but okay. Is... is it normal for sewer workers to descend two stories from the surface? 'Cause that seems a bit extreme.

  The second floor has a lot of spooky moaning in the distance, which would work a lot better if this wasn’t a sewer level, to be entirely honest. There are also a gaggle of lizard monsters chilling on the ceiling, which is kind of unsettling if we’re being completely upfront about things. But they really don’t do a whole lot other than sit there.

Um... you guys gonna do anything?
"Um... you guys gonna do anything?"
"Nah, we're good."

I mean, you “activate” them by running under them or making a noise louder than Harry’s loud-ass shoes, but as long as you’re running, they won’t connect. So… um… boo, I guess.

  All joking aside, I’d have to say the lowly cockroach is the single most successful monster in this particular dungeon, if not the entire game. They always seem to be able to avoid Harry’s aim or just plain overwhelm him with numbers. So, good on you, roaches. You aren’t scary in the slightest, but you kick a fairly sizable about of my ass.

  Although, on my screenshot run, I did kill two at once with the hammer, so… um… whoops?

  Anyway, we wind our way through the boring shittiness only to find a locked door between us and the exit. The only other way to go is down the side path that looks like it leads back to the central area, but totes doesn’t. Instead, it leads to a pool of bloody water that I’m sure was meant to be scary but, at this point, is just trite. But there’s a key floating in it, and this could not be a more obvious set up to a jump scare if they just flat-out told us what was about to happen.

Do you wish to trigger the scare and continue game? Y/N
Do you wish to trigger the scare and continue game? Y/N

We choose to continue to game and pick up the key.

Wha? How? This is so unexpected!
Wha? How? This is so unexpected!
Also, how did he not see the one under the water right in front of his fucking face?

  Ahhhhh.

  Ahhhhh.

  Oh, no.

  Outside of the three lizard things that swarm you immediately, another plops down on the narrow path to the door. It can be tricky to escape this room without taking a hit, but it doesn’t matter since I have a million healing items (and I had stumbled on two first aid kits within moments of each other, so… yeah… there’s not a whole lot of tension).

  Leaving this room with any enemies alive does actually lead to a kind of cool moment where the lizards can be seen on the other side of the chain link separator.

Seriously the most mystical thing we've seen up to this point.
Seriously the most mystical thing we've seen up to this point.

Sure, they clip through the level geometry, but it’s still kind of cool. But it’s completely nullified by the fact that you can walk through the door and you won’t be swarmed by lizard things. So… um… good shot, Konami? Maybe?

  Anyway, on the way back to the locked door, there’s a loud crashing sound that appears to do absolutely nothing other than provide a jump scare. I mean, once we reach the locked door, we see that there are now three lizard demons that weren’t there before. So… I guess the sound was them?

  But why telegraph that? Wouldn’t it be better to lull the player into a false sense of security? Also, the sound made it seem like the noise came from behind Harry, and there’s nothing to suggest they burst from a wall or anything akin to that, which is what the crashing noise kind of implied. I mean, it would have been cool if the lizards back in the key room knocked down the chain link and were chasing Harry into an ambush, but… no. The sound plays even if you killed all the green clickity monsters. So it means nothing. Just a noise because it’s a boring sewer level and a jump scare was needed or whatever.

  Maybe I just don’t understand all this deep psychological terror and my dry response to it all is entirely a defense mechanism.

  Whatever. We can run by the newly spawned lizards or murder them, unlock the door, and head up the ladder.

MORE HOT LADDER ACTION THAN YOU CAN HANDLE
MORE RED HOT LADDER ACTION THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY HANDLE

That’s the sewer. Good fucking riddance. Join me next time for Not The Sewer Level.

BONUS: What the fuck is a boat doing in a sewer?

... 'kay.
... 'kay.

There’s another one, too, but a single boat is enough to make you wonder what the fuck these people were doing down here.

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

< PREVIOUS ENTRYNEXT ENTRY >

AdviceFictionGamingGeneral MusingsReviews