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  What’s going on, Traipsers? It is I, Jonathan Bruce, here to take you through the horrors of Silent Hill! When we last left Harry, something amazing happened…

Cut! We need to do another take! Slower, this time. Slower and meaner.
Cut! We need to do another take! Slower, this time. Slower and meaner.

To give you some actual context rather than just have a wall of that be the entire update, Harry finally got around to catching Alessa before she could make a seal or whatever, and she proceeded to hilariously kick the shit out of him. This possibly activated the Flauros Harry had been sitting on most of the adventure, or maybe it was activated automatically by being in close proximity to Alessa, or the scriptwriter had no idea how to get the plot moving so it happened just because it needed to. Either way, the Flauros shot a beam of light at Alessa which briefly turned her into William Shatner.

Alessa will be played by Chris Pine in the reboot.
Alessa will be played by Chris Pine in the reboot.

Dahlia showed up and made some creepy comments before absconding with Alessa into a very bright wormhole or something. I guess Harry came along with them or passed out or died or something, because the screen went to black. That about brings us up to speed.

  Freed from the confines of the amusement park, we find ourselves in the confines of the fucking hospital exam room with Lisa again.

Oh, good, we're back OH MY GOD WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR FACE
Oh, good, we're back OH MY GOD WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR FACE

I’ve always found this whole “Harry regaining consciousness” sequence to look vaguely like he’s coming up for air from some weird sex position. I mean, I know he’s not, but it’s still a really awkward scene.

  And that face.

Did Harry break his neck when Alessa psycho-slammed his ass to the ground?
Did Harry break his neck when Alessa psycho-slammed his ass to the ground?

That’ll haunt your nightmares.

  Oh, yeah, and Lisa looks a touch worse for wear.

You... you got something... um... nevermind.
You... you got something... um... nevermind.

You would be too after Harry botched oral sex.

  Anyway, once that scene is over, we’re dumped into another cutscene consisting of Lisa and Harry sitting and talking to each other—Lisa on a chair, Harry on the bed.

Wow. The screen explodes with emotion.
Wow. The screen explodes with emotion.

You might be confused (or at least annoyed), as this is precisely the same fucking setup we had the last time Harry passed out randomly and woke up in the hospital, albeit at a slightly different angle. With all this amazing and dynamic cinematography, it’s really hard to believe why more people don’t gush about these scenes.

  Anyway, the conversation reveals why Lisa is quite a bit twitchier than she was in our last encounters. She tells us that, because of something Harry said, she went to the basement.

Listening to Harry was your first mistake, Lisa.
Listening to Harry was your first mistake, Lisa.

She felt that there was nothing really out of the ordinary, despite the fact that the rooms were creepy. However, she got weirded out because she felt a wave of déjà vu. She’s convinced that something went on in the rooms in the basement, but she can’t remember what it was. Then, in a surprisingly effective turn, Lisa pleads with Harry to help her because she doesn’t know what the hell is going on and she’s rightly terrified.

  Harry then tries to mollify the clearly upset woman by mansplaining that she had been knocked out, so it’s NBD that she can’t remember ‘cause it won’t last.

'There, there. Golly, you're overreacting to this whole 'world of horror' thing.'
"There, there. Golly, you're overreacting to this whole 'world of horror' thing."

Keep in mind that he has waffled on whether or not he’s hallucinated all of these events a couple of times through the game, so now it’s his turn to dismiss someone’s emotional plea for assistance because… reasons. What reason would that be, Harry?

Urrrrrgggghhh...
Urrrrrgggghhh...

  Oh. Because Lisa’s fretting. Awesome. You see, Lisa’s concern is just some nobody fretting over minor things like being terrified while running around a rust-covered, blood-soaked, monstrosity-infested hospital and having no idea the rhyme or reason behind why she showed up. It’s absolutely nothing to be worried about. Now, if it was Harry who was trying to figure something out, everyone on earth had better stop what they’re doing because our protagonist is worried that things aren’t adding up.

  Fuck you, Harry.

  Perhaps sensing that he is being a cad, Harry reaches out to comfort Lisa. More likely, however, he’s reaching out for a condescending pat on the shoulder. Lisa sits back and takes this because she’s Lisa and…

Drama!
Drama!

Holy shit! Lisa’s sticking up for herself! She gets right up and storms out of the room, leaving Harry to impotently call out after her in the stupidest way possible.

'Get back here, young lady!'
'Get back here, young lady!'

  After this, Harry notices a very creepy burbling sound. I would describe it as akin to a constantly grumbling tummy. A tummy of despair! Harry divines that it’s coming from “down there”, which is really impressive considering that he says it while looking at the door to the medicine room.

That's... not the basement, buddy.
That's... not the basement, buddy.

That’s some loud-ass burbling if he could somehow ascertain that it is coming from the basement in Alchemilla, considering that he’s really nowhere near the stairwell.

Map

As you can see, unless that sound is coming from the store room, the actual likelihood of Harry hearing it is pretty low. Anyway, Harry eventually stares at the chair for a brief moment, so maybe the sound’s coming from below the chair or this was just a desperate attempt to add some camera liveliness to the scene. With that, we’re dumped out of the cutscene.

  Once we’re given back control of Harry and save the game, we’re told we’re not actually in Alchemilla, thus making our assumption about where and how our hero can hear something in the basement a bit silly. We’re in a place called Nowhere. Logically, Harry has no way of knowing this at the moment, but he should still be aware of this room in relation to the hospital’s layout to know that the sound can’t possibly be coming from “below” him. So… maybe that’s his first indication that he’s not where he may think he be? Or something?

  Of course that would depend on Harry thinking, and that’s unreliable and I’m not convinced it’s even happened, so…

  Ugh. Whatever.

  Let’s talk about something I actually really do like—the naming of the final dungeon. It gives an amazing sense of finality while also slamming home the idea that Harry and the others are now totally lost to the void. Now, we’re still stumbling about, so it’s not like this little trip to the end of reality is fatal, but I still love the simple haunting name. It just works.

  There isn’t a whole lot going on in the examination room, so we step out into the lobby…

Eh?
Eh?

Oh. That’s new.

  Also, we would be heading into the lobby—otherwise known as the place heading in the opposite direction from the the basement. Just… you know… just pointing that out. *cough*

  Taking a few steps on this walkway triggers yet another cutscene—didn’t we go through this shit a couple of weeks ago? The elevator at the end of the path opens up, prompting Harry to make some garbage up.

Aw, Harry, no one wants you around.
Aw, Harry, no one wants you around.

This one line is going to get us a lot of mileage in later games. In fact, it basically becomes one of the two major cruxes of the Silent Hill experience, despite it being a singular throwaway line that’s justifying a spoooooky elevator.

  Harry babbles some questions before claiming that he has a feeling that he’ll find out the answers of every single mystery this game has thrown at us if he gets in the elevator (SPOILER: He won’t).

So this is what unrealistic optimism looks like.
So this is what unrealistic optimism looks like.

He enters the booth, no doubt girding his loins for a coming fight with a giant sloth or butterfly or goddamn goldfish. The cutscene ends, and with that, we bring today’s episode to an end on the precipice of the final dungeon.

  On such a grand occasion (and especially after that obnoxious display with Lisa), I thought I would just share my thoughts about how I just don’t understand how anyone in their right mind could like Harry at this point. He’s an asshole and tremendously stupid, perpetually confused yet surprisingly presumptuous. He’s assisted the villains and doesn’t even realize it, even after he’s been betrayed. He’s yelled at or insulted just about everyone he’s come across. I HATE HIS STUPID FACE SO MUCH.

Hi, I'm Harry Jackass.
Hi, I'm Harry Jackass.

  Sorry.

  The thing is that I cannot, for the life of me, believe that I ever actually liked this dickhead. There are so few redeeming aspects of his character and I am just so fucking sick of piloting him around. I wasn’t kidding about Cybil shooting him or him getting psycho-punched by Alessa—those are major highlights of the game.

a b c
d e f g

I mean, with so many quality moments, how can I choose?

  The problem with Harry as a character is that they wrote literally one thing about Harry—father—and let that excuse the fact that he has no character. Seriously. They seemingly wrote this hoping that that one thing about Harry would eclipse the fact that he is just a massive incompetent cock. And the worst part is that “father” effectively means nothing for a character. What do I mean by that?

  Well, not to be controversial, but a mother or a father isn’t someone who’s automatically devoted or inspirational or good to their children. There are tons of people out there who are shitty parents. Just because they slung some spunk into someone/incubated/adopted a child doesn’t make them worthy of anything other than a title. Saying a character is a father tells us nothing other than the fact that he is supposed to take care of a child, but if he doesn’t, psh, whatevs.

  I’m not trying to be dismissive of people who are great parents (and there are plenty; believe me, I’ve met them and I have them)—the point I’m making is that a job or duty you have is not a good indicator of the quality of person you are.

This is the kind of thought process that makes this guy trustworthy 'because he's a doctor'.
This is the kind of thought process that makes this guy trustworthy 'because he's a doctor'.

  Hell, Harry’s complete lack of overall panic or desperation suggests that he’s only going after Cheryl due to either obligation or nothing better to do. If the events of the game had taken place within a couple blocks of a functioning bar or his sofa, Harry would have parked his ass there and never left. Listen to the way he talks about her 90% of the time—yeah, bad voice acting contributes to this, but it’s also shitty writing leading to a shitty character. Harry may be a father, but he clearly sucks at his only goddamn job.

  To give a further example of what I’m getting at, I teach, but that’s not an aspect of my personality. It doesn’t tell you a thing about me, other than where I get my paycheck. I’ve met teachers who have run the gamut of personality types. You aren’t your job, and people need to stop writing characters like that. It’s lazy and it makes people like me write long treatises on why you suck at writing.

  The amazing thing is that the guy who wrote this entry of Silent Hill went on to write Forbidden Siren, a game with tons of characters with a comparably ludicrous amount of personality. It uses a lot of the same kind of real world/nightmare world dynamic, but the characters are pretty interesting and compelling for the most part. I don’t get what went wrong here. Maybe it was first time jitters or experimenting with something that ultimately didn’t work. I don’t know. All I do know is that it ultimately didn’t work.

What? Constant, mind-numbing confusion didn't work? Color me shocked!
What? Constant, mind-numbing confusion didn't work? Color me shocked!

  You know, at least the flavor text and tragic childhood™ did something to begin to round out Travis Grady’s character. He’s an animal lover! He is relatively compassionate to others! He’s kind of dumb, but good hearted! He has a larger vocabulary than a professional “writer”! This also serves as a really great segue into why Travis is the far superior protagonist. Or, at the very least, why he and his game are the better overall story.

This might have something to do with it.
This might have something to do with it.

  Travis starts the game doing something heroic—rescuing Alessa. He goes to check up on her at the hospital and is pulled into the nightmare reality. Although he doesn’t fully comprehend what’s going on, he is forced to confront his past while inadvertently assisting Alessa with her goal of seeking revenge/escaping Silent Hill. We help Travis overcome his mental issues and we assist in fully rescuing Alessa from the clutches of the cult (well, not so much fully). In this process, we learn more about both Travis and his psychic murder ghost companion. He completes the game a more whole person than the way he started it.

  Harry adopts a girl and then loses her after almost running over another child. He confusingly schleps around a monster-filled town, achieving precisely nothing until he’s manipulated (lazily) by a shoeless woman speaking in clichés to successfully stopping the one person who’s trying to actively foil the cult’s plan. Realistically, things would probably have worked out better if he had died in the car crash.

  Really think about that last part. If Harry had died, Alessa would have sealed the nightmare side of town to the abyss, taking Dr. Skeeves and Dahlia with her into the darkness. Life would have gone on in the real world as normal, and no one else had to die.

  Harry really is the fucking worst.

As pictured.
As pictured.

  Join me next time for Red-Hot No-Map Action!

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

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