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  Welcome back, Traipsers! When last we left our hero of dubious moral quality, he had revealed to us that Cheryl wasn’t his biological daughter, despite the fact that this is revealed to the audience less than fifteen seconds into the opening trailer of the game.

'Oh. Well, I suppose that was a bit silly of us.'
"Oh. Well, I suppose that was a bit silly of us."

We had also rescued Cybil from a fate of spazzing the fuck out and vomiting blood or whatever all over a rusty carousel. Harry assured the groggy and probably internally hemorrhaging woman that he would take care of her, what with the fact that a giant, catfish-like parasite had just tunneled its way out of her body.

  Harry, naturally, immediately abandons Cybil to go wandering about the amusement park to look for Alessa (assumingly). Keep in mind there was only one exit to the carousel, we’ve already explored what we could of the park, and it’s very likely Harry spent the last fifteen minutes wandering in the same area over and over again until something happens.

  And something does happen indeed!

It's very dramatic. They moved the camera and everything.
It's very dramatic. They moved the camera and everything.

  This is it, folks! Time for red-hot confrontation action!

Or... this. This works, I guess.
Or... this. This works, I guess.

Um, not to correct you, Harry, but you didn’t figure that she’d show. You were told to come here.

Harry likes to take credit for things other people do. All the more reason to hate him.
Harry likes to take credit for things other people do. All the more reason to hate him.

Honestly, there was no way you could have figured it out on your own, so stop trying to impress the player and Alessa. It’s embarrassing.

  Anyway, Harry shows us why he’s the hero of this adventure by telling Alessa that he doesn’t know who she is or what she wants (even though he’s seen a fucking picture of her)…

Alessa

… but he just wants her to let Cheryl go. Which, um… huh.

  First off, that photo doesn’t look like it’s of a seven or eight year old girl. She looks like a teenager, to me. But I am bad at associating faces with ages, so what do I know? But how about we compare the photo to CG version of Alessa we’ve seen up to this point?

Why, I don't see any resemblance!
Why, I don't see any resemblance!

Yeah, I don’t think there’s too much of a mystery here. I think the bigger question is why there was a photo of Alessa on the console in Alessa’s room in the hospital. If she was in a coma, that seems like a really weird thing to leave behind. Like, was it to comfort family? I doubt Dahlia gave a shit. Was it to comfort her nurses? That seems a little silly. And even if she wasn’t in a coma, it still seems odd to me that she’d want a picture of herself pre-arson-based makeover.

  But more importantly, I guess I do have to ask—does Harry really know that Alessa has Cheryl? I mean, she doesn’t and we know that, but that’s not the point. I know it is kind of alluded to by mysterious barefoot church lady, but considering he’s still trying to bargain with a supposed demon (according to Dahlia), I’m not entirely sure that Harry’s reading off the appropriate script pages. I mean, with the information he’s been given, it’s natural to assume that she’s being held by someone somewhere, but if Alessa really was a demon, wouldn’t she have just killed Cheryl outright?

  I guess it would have been better for Dahlia to tell Harry that Cheryl was an integral part of the demon’s plot. Like, she’s to be sacrificed, and the demon is hungry for sacrifice or whatever, but why is it waiting?

Did it just have a big sacrificial breakfast?
Did it just have a big sacrificial breakfast?

Is there a waiting period? If the end goal is the apocalypse, why would Alessa care when Cheryl dies? Did we just throw darts at a board when coming up with this bullshit? All I’m saying is that it would be nice to know what the fuck is going on so I don’t have to fucking keep asking these fucking questions every fucking time there’s a fucking cutscene. FUCK.

  Goddamn it, Origins may have had some really bad ideas when it came to relaying plot information, but at least it appeared that everyone knew what its plot was. This is just chucking every idea that fired a synapse in their brain at a wall and hoping they stuck.

  Also, you literally have a line where the main character says he has no idea whatsoever about what’s going on in the plot.

Someone wrote this. Someone wrote this and thought it was acceptable. I'm... just saying.
Someone wrote this. Someone wrote this and received money for it. I'm... I'm just saying.

Who on earth thinks that is a good idea? Jesus, we’re 80% of the way through the game and our hero has no idea what’s going on. And there isn’t even the first fucking time he’s said something like that! Writing! Weeee!

  Sorry, there’s still a cutscene still meandering about.

  Anyway, he snaps, “Hold it right there,” which works wonders when you’re scolding a four year old with a crayon, but not against Alessa Gillespie, world’s most powerful psychic. This fact is beautifully illustrated by Alessa slowly raising her hand…

'I'm going to see where she's going with this.'--Harry 'Survival Instinct? What's That?' Mason
"I'm going to see where she's going with this."--Harry 'Survival Instinct? What's That?' Mason

… and giving me another new screensaver.

The psychic murder ghost speaks for us all!
The psychic murder ghost speaks for us all!

  See, despite the fact that there are people who think Alessa is evil, this completely contradicts that assessment. She could have easily just popped Harry’s head and skipped along on her way. Instead, she just knocks him flat on his ass and attempts to leave. To further prove that Alessa is infinitely kinder than I am, she just throws up a force field and lets Harry smash his face against it rather than straight up murdering him.

*snort* Ha ha ha ha ha!
*snort* Ha ha ha ha ha! I am the president and treasurer of the Alessa Gillespie Fan Club.

I would think that at this point it would be in Alessa’s best interest to nuke Harry from orbit rather than keep him around, just because he tends to screw up quite a bit.

  To prove my point, Harry gets to his feet and notices that the Flauros (which he has apparently kept in his back pocket) is now making noise. It starts to fly…

Sure, why not?
Sure, why not?

… and then shoots a laser beam or whatever at Alessa.

Alessa had her pilot fixing a hull breach and hadn't upgraded her autopilot yet.
Alessa had her pilot fixing a hull breach and hadn't upgraded her autopilot yet.

This apparently knocks her health into critical status, or the main side effect of this devastating attack is Shatner-levels of overacting.

Spooooock!
Spooooock!

  Then, because our hero is a big tough guy who just flattened a teenage girl with a magical whatsit that he had no control over, Harry strolls over to her and is all “Where’s Cheryl? Give me back my daughter.”

  I love that he’s trying to make it seem like he knew that was going to happen the entire time. “Ha! My plan to be psychically knocked over by you, thus triggering this paperweight from the corner market to do… something… has gone perfectly! I may have dislocated my shoulder and am presently bleeding internally, but now I have the upper hand!”

  Before we move on, it’s never really addressed what exactly happens with the Flauros there. In the two interactions with Alessa that Harry had while this thing was chilling in his back pocket (he has sat down on that thing in the past… that couldn’t have been comfortable), this is the only time the Flauros decides to work. The big difference between the two events is that Alessa “attacked” Harry this time around. I’m guessing that if we take that along with Dahlia/Alessa dialogue in the Origins cutscene, it can be suggested that the Flauros increases and focuses power when it has a caged demon, but if the “master” tries to destroy the cage (intentionally or not), it lashes out in self-defense.

Now, keep in mind this is based on and extrapolated from limited information provided in a game released years after the original. The original rationale is literally just “because it needed to happen” and has nothing to do with anything other than a vague magical thingamabob doing vague magical thingamabob things.

  This does mean that Dahlia depended on Alessa getting frustrated with Harry existing and attempting to kill him/knock him on his ass. It’s not too hard to believe, considering that she’s met Harry and she knew this day would come.

  Dahlia, somehow, appears out of goddamn nowhere.

Pictured: Dahlia appearing. Not pictured: Somewhere.
Pictured: Dahlia appearing.
Not pictured: Somewhere.

She intones ominously, “We meet at last, Alessa,” which is fucking stupid considering that Dahlia is her mother. It would have made more sense if she had said, “We meet at last, Cheryl,” but I guess we’re still pretending that it’s gonna be a real shocking twist when Cheryl and Alessa turn out to be the same person.

  Also, this is the first time that anyone’s actually called Alessa by her name in a cutscene. Maybe that’s why the writer sacrificed decent dialogue for the clichéd and horribly out of place “We meet at last…” moment. Either that or they just didn’t think things through.

  Because Harry is stupid and you are criminally irresponsible if you actually like him as a protagonist, he utters Dahlia’s name for no goddamn reason.

Dahlia! Brown dress! Girl! Rusty floor! Soft serve!
Dahlia! Brown dress! Girl! Rusty floor! Soft serve!

He asks where Cheryl is, but both Alessa and Dahlia ignore him because, psh, wouldn’t you? Dahlia says that it is the end of Alessa’s “little game”, to which Alessa mutters “Mama?” This shocking revelation somehow cause the gears in Harry’s head to grind together enough to start putting two and two together.

You can almost hear the gears squealing desperately for traction.
You can almost hear the gears squealing desperately for traction.

  I would like to point out that I have no idea what Harry could possibly conclude from this exchange. Outside of the fact that the girl is Alessa and the two are related, there’s nothing particularly shocking or relevant to him going on. He’s literally outside the main story looking in at this point. I really want to know what the rest of that sentence was supposed to be before he trailed off. Could she be what, Harry? Her daughter? Because that was stated. If you need to ask for clarification on that, then you’re… you know what? Fuck it.

  Dahlia says that she was careless thinking that Alessa couldn’t escape from “our” spell. It’s clear that she’s conveniently ignoring her own colossal stupidity in thinking that she could hide the Flauros from Alessa and Travis by hiding them behind monsters that were easily killable instead of, oh, I don’t know… shipping them to Albuquerque or throwing them in the ocean or chucking them down a pit like a reasonable lunatic would have done. Or why didn’t she try to destroy it? What reason was there to have it around in the first place if it could be used by Alessa to undermine the cult’s plans?

  Urrrghhhhh…

  Then she says that she didn’t realize just how powerful Alessa had become, albeit in a manner most creepy:

I'm always creeped out when people refer to themselves in the third person. This just adds another layer of discomfort.
I'm always creeped out when people refer to themselves in the third person. This just adds another layer of discomfort.

She uses this to justify why she used Harry to capture Alessa, which I’m calling bullshit on because I’m guessing that “laziness” was a much larger deciding factor. What would she have done if Alessa had decided to just kill Harry and teleport away before the Flauros could do anything? What then, smarty?

  Anyway, she laments Harry’s involvement because, once again, wouldn’t you? Apparently, Alessa became so powerful that she needed to enlist a gofer to make sure she didn’t end up murdered by her daughter’s power. She makes a really weird statement that is seemingly directed at everyone and no one and is just confusing.

Also, you should apologize to Andy for reading magazines and not paying for them! And you should stop questioning doghouses!
Also, you should apologize to Andy for reading magazines and not paying for them! And you should stop questioning doghouses!

Like, who are you talking to, Dahlia? Who is half indebted to Harry? Alessa? Are you talking to yourself? Why is this happening? Why the hell did this script make it past quality control when it’s clearly poorly disguised medical waste?

  And, because Harry is Harry and the script writer thought “confusion” meant “horror”, Harry makes sure to tell everyone how useless and dumbfounded he is.

Are you still here?
"Are you still here?"

Having your protagonist shout at people having a plot-relevant conversation because he’s not actually plot-relevant is probably a really bad sign, guys.

  Dahlia, having finished one of her villainous monologues without being stopped by Alessa (who has an excuse) or Harry (who has none), then says that her daughter has one last thing to do for her. Naturally, she says it in the weirdest and most uncomfortable way possible.

... no. Just, no, Dahlia.
... no. Just, no, Dahlia.

Then, disregarding her daughter’s wishes to stay the fuck away from her…

Just... uh... just gonna stand there, Harry?
Just... uh... just gonna stand there, Harry?

… Dahlia decrees that it is time to go home by summoning a portal of blue light or something.

Oh, yeah, you'll get that with the Gillespies.
Oh, yeah, you'll get that with the Gillespies.

Harry, confused as ever, dies.

  Passes out.

  Whatever.

  The last thing we hear is Alessa screaming, which is always a great way to end a family reunion.

  I hope that it was apparent that, at any time, Harry could have pulled out one of his weapons and kept Dahlia away from Alessa. I know he doesn’t necessarily have a reason to defend Alessa at this point, but he’s just been duped and mocked by Dahlia and the completely defenseless human being is directly being threatened by a woman saying creepy, incredibly uncomfortable and vaguely threatening things. The fact that Alessa says “Get away from me,” should have been enough for Harry to attempt to intervene. Instead, because the story demands it, he just stands around like a completely useless lump.

  And here’s the thing, friends: it’s not like Dahlia is defenseless. She could have knocked Harry on his ass—perhaps less forcefully than her daughter did, but still enough to slap him around and leave him dazed as she absconds with Alessa. But whatever! It’s far better to have Harry stare at things than be an active protagonist!

  Silent Hill!

  Join me next time for the return of the world’s saddest nurse in Yet Another Cutscene in the Fucking Hospital.

BONUS: You didn’t think I’d let Harry do something goofy without turning it into something amazing, did you?

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

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

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