home bio blog armyofdarkness media projects contact

Newest Entries
Archives


Part Title

  Welcome back, Traipsers! When last we left Harry, he had slaughtered his way into becoming king of the molepeople. In an alternate universe, though, things took a decidedly sexier turn.

Share of my flesh. It is the only way to unite our kingdoms.
Share of my flesh. It is the only way to unite our kingdoms.

Anyway, we finished up our time in the sewer the way we started—with an animation of Harry on a ladder. A good time was had by all.

  Except for the molepeople.

  Who all died.

  Anyway, we emerge from the unending night of the sewers, blinking into the… um… continuing darkness of the nightmare reality’s amusement park.

Well, that's a safety hazard.
Well, that's a safety hazard.

Now, you may be thinking that the one exit out of the otherwise completely enclosed dock area leading to the one area we needed to go was completely and stupidly convenient, and you’d be right. But what did you want the designers to do, come up with a creative means to arrive at the park? What do you think this is, a game that aspires to be surreal and somewhat dreamlike? Psh. My dreams all take place in a dirty closet full of cleaning supplies. This shit is amazing.

  Now, the amusement park, despite having the potential for being an interesting area if nothing else, is actually just a dull, relatively open space with the occasional building/ride/chasm/bloody barbed wire fence to push you in a direction the game needs you to go. The most interesting thing (interesting presently surrounded by the biggest sarcasti-quotes you can imagine) about this area are the still functioning tilt-a-whirl or whatever…

Sadly, Harry's too tall to ride.
Sadly, Harry's too tall to ride.

… and the Ferris Wheel that rotates lazily and I’m not even going to bother animating that.

Behold, the most creative thing they could think of.
Behold, the most creative thing they could think of.

  It’s… actually really boring, all things considered. There are a couple of demon kids running about, but they are easy to deal with since the radio is back to normal, thus reducing the chance of them sneaking up on you. Of course, there are squeaky adorkable ghosts as well, and they fact that they also set off your radio may lead to either a false alarm or ignoring one of the two approaching legitimate threats.

D'awwww.
D'awwww, they're barely visible.

  But outside of that, there are no puzzles to solve, no major hazards to avoid, no clever level design, no goodies to pick up tucked away in a far corner, nor is there any other minor indication that more than the barest thought went into this section. I seriously have no idea why they just didn’t dump you at the next waypoint and call it a day.

  Anyway, after wandering around all willy-nilly, you will probably stumble upon a frozen treat stand that happens to have a notepad for saving on it.

Can I get some help?
Can I get some help?

Although it seems like a minor thing right now, you may want to take the time to save. It’s canon, believe it or not.

  A short jaunt up ahead is the only enterable area—the carousel. Once the game loads, it cuts to Harry walking forward, and then cuts to an FMV. Why we didn’t start in FMV land is anyone’s guess, but I’m guessing it had something to do with the developers thinking that players would somehow not realize that, when we enter a door, a cutscene would take place behind that door. You know, like literally every other time they’ve had that happen without establishing that we were in the room first.

Oh, don't get up. I... I really insist that you don't get up.
Oh, don't get up. I... I really insist that you don't get up.

  Oh. Oh, dear.

  Cybil, finally having had it with our protagonist’s constant inability to do anything productive, menacingly (though also possessedly) advances on Harry.

Um... heh, is this about the stupid questions?
"Um... heh, is this about the stupid questions?"

Then, she realizes she owns a gun and decides just to ice the motherfucker right there and then.

Oh, right. This is much easier.
"Oh, right. This is much easier."

However, she somehow misses while aiming directly at him. Jesus, where have I seen that before?


Can't any of you be relied on to shoot straight?

Seriously, I don’t know how Harry has managed to come this far without at least one hole in his chest, but he’s one lucky dickhead. Either that or there are a ton of blank cartridges produced in the Silent Hill universe and they all happen to get mixed in with the regular supply of bullets. Because, seriously, how hard is it to put a bullet in something as slow and stupid as Harry?

  Hm? Or, right. A boss fight or whatever.

  So, we are now up against our old friend Cybil, who is not quite herself at the moment. Chances are she was clubbed unconscious and drugged by the cult for… reasons? I guess. You know, it’s never explained what happened to her in the sewer. Our clue is that there is a blood stain on her back…

Maybe she had a really big zit. You don't know. Don't judge.
Maybe she had a really big zit. You don't know. Don't judge.

… so I guess she has a parasite like the doctors or nurses or something? Like, did a parasite burrow into her? Or was it put there by the cult? Is it a manifestation of the drug in the nightmare reality? If it is a parasite, how come we’ve never seen a free roaming parasite before? If these were actual animals running around the nightmare, does that mean they infected the hospital staff when they transitioned into the nightmare, or was that just what happened when the staff was pulled into the nightmare, like they just arrived hunched over with a thing growing out of their back?

  If the parasites are only really a presence in the hospital, which can be assumed since that is the only place we encounter humans with those things growing out of their backs, what the hell was it doing in the sewer? Do they slip through the pipes? Or is there no rationale to their behavior and presence, and they just go where the developers need them to kick the story in whatever direction is necessary? Are the parasites manifestations of Alessa’s, and thus Alessa did this to Cybil, or something the cult can do to people who displease them?

  I know you must be shocked for a game with such air-tight storytelling to leave questions like that unanswered, but there you go!

  Now, I understand that I am coming off as a jerkass about this, but I also do feel that this question (and the others, natch) is actually really important for both story and, surprisingly enough, character development reasons. Specifically, Alessa’s. Like, if the parasite is hers and under her bidding, this completely changes her personality into one where she is actively preventing Harry from reaching her. Cruel, yes, but something she would view as a necessary evil. It also further solidifies that the biggest threat to the world’s/town’s safety is Harry himself and not, say, the psychic murder ghost.

  And if it’s the cult, IT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. Like, at all. Why on earth would they want to prevent Harry from stopping Alessa? Because that’s what it is. They’d want Harry to have the best fighting chance against lady phantom, and getting his police officer pal to pump him full of lead is actively going against their interest. God, this game is a series of weird scenes that are barely related to each other and when it does try to make something coherent, it fails.

  Whatever.

  The Cybil fight is broken up into two segments. In the first part of the fight, she has two attacks. The first is a hearty pistol whip/backhand which will knock a relatively huge chunk off your health—somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% or so with every swing. Despite the fact that this is probably the most cathartic thing to watch, it’s probably not the ideal situation to find yourself in. So the solution is to stay away from her, right?

  Ha, no. She’s not afraid to use that pistol of hers, and that first shot was the only guaranteed miss you get. Her second attack is her raising her pistol and cocking it (a stupid action for two reasons—the first is that it sounds like a shotgun pumping in a new shell and the second being you don’t need to cock semiautomatic pistols) as she gets a bead on Harry. You have three options at this point:

  1) Run away and hope that you can put distance and something physical between the two of you or that your vaguely circle-ish movement confuses her parasite’s brain.

  2) Run to melee range and hope that causes her AI to freak out and lower the gun (which it will about 50% of the time).

  3) Get shot.

As shown.
As shown.

Getting shot with anything less than full health can very, very easily kill you. A single bullet will floor Harry and will cost him between half and about 80% of his health, depending on how much the game hates him at that particular moment. And if you stay on the ground, our friendly neighborhood police officer will continue to plug Harry while he’s down. Luckily, you can heal while staring at the carousel’s roof, but it’s still a good reason to get your ass back up as soon as possible by wagglin’ those analog sticks.

  Now, the shitty thing about “dodging” the bullet is that it is actually almost entirely contingent on whether or not you’ve either put the central spindle between you and Officer Bennett or if you are close enough that running/walking in a circle will fuck up her aim. If she has any line of sight for longer than half a second—even if there’s a cute ceramic pony in the way—fuck you, you are getting hit.

  So your strategy for phase one Cybil basically boils down to what your supplies are. If you have a lot of health supplies, the emergency hammer can get in a solid whack between Cybil pulverizing Harry’s face with her fist. You do this song and dance for a bit, healing every couple of thwacks to the head and making sure she never gets enough distance to raise her gun.

  Another strategy is to pull out your rifle and put a couple of rounds into our old friend who is probably going to be very angry with us after this is all said and done. The second you connect that second shell, run away! Cybil will usually be caught trying to draw a bead on you when you retreat behind the carousel’s central spindle. If you do this, chances are Harry will trigger Cybil’s last trick for this phase—the carousel will start up, causing Harry to stumble. Cybil will be found looking like a certifiable badass on one of the horses.

'Wee.'
"Wee."

After a while, she will hop off and, if Harry is in the same zip code, will resume trying to murder him. I advise you avoid this by shooting her and scampering off again.

  This is probably the least advisable option, as rifle rounds are scarce. But if you don’t care about such paltry things, go wild.

  The third option is probably the riskiest, but can save you ammunition. Basically, you wait until Cybil draws her gun and then run. If she tries to shoot you but you’ve put the magic bullet-resistant carousel engine between you and her, she wastes one of her ten bullets. Otherwise she’ll lower her gun and keep the bullet for later. Otherwise, the riskier option is to remain close to Cybil and walk/run in a tight circle around her, hopefully keeping her aim confused enough to cause her to miss. Alternately, just catch every round with Harry’s intestines.

Only nine more to go!
Only nine more to go!

It takes ten rounds, but she’ll eventually run out of bullets.

  Whether you knock/blow her police training out of her skull or she just runs through her compliment of ammunition, she’ll eventually look at her gun like it’s some kind of weird animal and throw it away.

'The hell did this come from?'
'The hell did this come from?'

And so begins phase two! The carousel is now constantly running, which is pretty cool, to be honest.

  But the setting is the least of our worries. For you see, even without her pistol, Harry getting decked by Cybil, while totally deserved and cause for celebration, is an experience I would suggest he avoid. Her bullets have been replaced with a (surprise, surprise) grapple attack.

'Cybil, you're possessed!'
"Ack! Cybil, stop it! You're possessed!"
"... Right."

This is actually not as painful as the moleman attack from about three minutes ago, but will still eventually kill Harry if you don’t shake out of it. I’m pretty sure that if you put enough distance between you and Cybil, she’ll hop on a horse again, but usually she’s far too close for that to happen.

  This part of the fight can be handled either by melee weapon and tanking damage, rifle rounds at a distance, or—far more practically—whipping out the pistol or shotgun and walking backward while unloading on Cybil’s poor, monster-possessed face. She moves fast enough to keep pace with you and get her into attack range, but if she executes the attack you’re moving fast enough to make it whiff. This leads to a short-circuit of her AI and she’ll just dopily follow you as you take large chunks out of her with incredibly fast injections of Vitamin B(ullet).

  Oh, god, what if she sees what’s happening? What if she knows? What if she feels this? Jesus, Cybil, I’m sorry… please know that, even though you’re also kind of stupid, I would still take you as the protagonist over Harry any day of the week.

  Anyway, between the two phases, it will take about 22 whacks with the emergency hammer, 27 rifle shells/extremely close range shotgun blasts, or a staggering 87 bullets to drop Cybil. First, this makes her slightly tougher than a gigantic fucking moth, which I guess is something to note. Second… wait a minute. I need to dig something out…

I'm about to math so hard, you don't even know.
I'm about to math so hard, you don't even know.

There we go. Anyway, I don’t think there’s a consistent equation for how strong a weapon is, unless certain monsters have resistance to certain forms of ammo. What I mean is that if we look at the titanomoth fight, every rifle round was worth about 1.8 bullets. For Cybil, every shell is worth 3.2 bullets. For further mathematical fuckery, the every swing of the emergency hammer on an invertebrate is worth about 1.8 rifle rounds or about 3.15 bullets. Against Cybil, the same hammer swing is only worth about 1.2 rifle rounds or about 3.95 handgun bullets. What the hell is going on here?

  But I think the biggest issue is that, parasitized or not, Cybil wouldn’t be a recognizable person so much as a horrific manifestation of botched surgery given sentience. Perhaps hamburger in leather pants. But definitely not human.

  After putting in the requisite amount of magical sense-granting bullets, we get a cutscene where Cybil is brought back to us, slightly dinged up but relatively normal.

Turns out it wasn't a parasite at all, it was just food poisoning.
Turns out it wasn't a parasite at all, it was just food poisoning.

Um… gross. I mean, er… ha, ha. Neat trick, there, Cybil, whatever it is that you’re supposed to be doing. But you can stop joking. We saved you from yourself or whatever. You can stop pretending... um… to vomit all over yourself or whatever. It’s really gross.

You went from a rictus grin to limp and your eyes stopped glowing. Um... okay?
You went from a rictus grin to limp and your eyes stopped glowing. Um... okay?

Um… how did you get your eyes to stop glowing?

  Um… Cybil?

Wake up! This isn't funny anymore! Is this about the stupid questions Harry always asks? God, that guy is such a dick!
Wake up! This isn't funny anymore! Is this about the stupid questions Harry always asks? God, that guy is such a dick!

  Did… did I miss something?

... What? This is how her arc ends?
... What? This is how her arc ends?

:(

  Well, shit. On that sad news, join me next time for Redacted.

BONUS: Cybil coming at us:

Cybil dying :( :

Cybil providing me with a new screensaver:

I love how she steps on his dick before just kind of walking away.
I love how she steps on his dick before just kind of walking away.

Cybil ruining the tragedy of her violent and untimely passing:

Cybil, this is serious.
Cybil, come on. This is serious business.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOUR NECK, CYBIL, STOP IT

THAT IS NOT HOW THE NECK WORKS
THAT IS NOT HOW THE NECK WORKS

  This is a frame of Cybil’s death sequence, naturally. Now, I have no proof of this, mind you, but the fact that Cybil’s head is transparent here and her neck is doing… something, I don’t think it’s too far out of line to suggest that at one point something was supposed to tear its way out of Cybil’s neck and the blood/gore was supposed to obfuscate it. It would explain why it fades out, only to fade back into Cybil’s intact head covered in blood or vomit or whatever that is. It would also do a lot to put into perspective some of the other frames where Cybil’s head looks significantly different than it does before and after this scene.

  Now, I don’t want you to think I want to see poor Cybil being put through the ringer by any means, but I would like a fucking clear idea of what happens to her here. I mean, I guess it’s similar to the doctors’ melee death sequence…

GOTTA DANCE
GOTTA DANCE

… but that doesn’t even tell us anything. Couldn’t she have thrown up the parasite? Or it have torn its way out of her neck? I mean, you don’t have to graphically show it, but for a game that is perfectly fine throwing random corpses for flavor, this seems so unnecessarily squeamish.

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

< PREVIOUS ENTRYNEXT ENTRY >

AdviceFictionGamingGeneral MusingsReviews