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  When last we left Harry, he decided that an elevator was summoning him for some reason. This was after Lisa had had enough of his condescending shit and stormed out of the exam room. That was after Lisa tried to get Harry to not be a douchebag and just listen to her tale of being rightly terrified of the hospital’s basement. But other than that, there really wasn’t a whole lot to it.

  So we’re in the final stretch, Traipsers! We are puked out of the elevator into the final level—Nowhere. Nowhere initially looks like Alchemilla, but it will quickly become apparent that… it really isn’t. But that’s a conversation for a bit later. Suffice it to say, it’s a bit silly that we left the exam room to go to the “lobby” only to be given a completely new landscape of a walkway leading to an elevator. Said elevator took us down an unknown number of floors and deposited us… um… apparently in the east wing of the first floor of the hospital. That was… uh… a touch unnecessary, ladies and gents.

  As we sally forth, we take a moment to review our supplies. We have 31 health drinks, 11 first aid kits, 3 ampoules, 206 pistol rounds, 49 shells, and 48 rifle bullets. We… uh… we don’t have too much to fear, to be honest. So just like every other dungeon, then.

  From our starting point, we are flanked by two tantalizing doors. We start with the door to our immediate left, which takes us to an empty hospital room with a key wedged in a faucet.

... how?
... how?

As you can see, it is not removable for reasons, despite the fact that I’m sure a few good whacks with the emergency hammer will knock the item right out of the spigot.

  The door just opposite the misused faucet is actually one we’ve seen before in Alchemilla—the empty birdcage room. Now, however, there is the sound of a fluttering bird. If we examine the cage, we see that there is a key inside of it. The front is locked, however, because keeping a key in plain sight but secured behind a flimsy birdcage is apparently considered a wise move in Silent Hill.

Oh, gosh. The obstacles are too much. Stop. I can not take it anymore.
Oh, gosh. The obstacles are too much. Stop. I can not take it anymore.

Also, look at the fucking thing. It is clearly more fragile than the faucet. Do you know how easy it would be to just take a swing at that thing with one of our blunt weapons and just reach in and grab it? Hell, you could probably use the kitchen knife to cut the wire or whatever is holding the key up and then just rattle the cage until it’s in reach.

  I’m… so thrilled that our first two fetch quests could have realistically been completed with items we have on hand. That bodes so well.

  Back out in the hall, we encounter a door with the word “Phaleg” carved on it. A little girl can be heard laughing when we’re near it, which is a suitably creepy touch, but it goes away once you’ve examined the door. Unfortunately, we cannot see what lay beyond at the moment—but I can tell you what a Phaleg is. Supposedly, Phaleg is an Olympian spirit of Mars according to some doofy grimoire. It’s all very spooky and ominous until you realize that most people who wrote grimoires did so solely to con people out of money.

  Also, you can kind of make out the symbol of Phaleg if you pay attention to the door.

Oh, yeah, you'll get that with your PSOne era graphics.
Oh, yeah, you'll get that with your PSOne era graphics.

Now, where did we see that before?

Oh, back when it still didn't make any sense!
Oh, back when it still didn't make any sense!

Yes, back in the mall before our showdown with the larva, if you waited around after Cheryl’s distress call you got to see a bunch of weird symbols. They make their reappearance here. It’s an interesting callback, even if it ultimately means nothing.

  A ways down the hall is another door, which leads to the Green Lion.

  Wait, what?

  That’s right—although it appears to be just a slightly redesigned Alchemilla, Nowhere is actually a series of stapled-together rooms that we’ve experienced before. There are a couple of new environments to weird us out, but we’re kind of playing through Silent Hill’s greatest hits. And no, there are no copy/pasted rooms from the sewer levels… wonder what that’s about.

  It also doesn’t have a map. So you either get to stumble about trying desperately to remember where the hell all the major points are, or you can be all old-school about it and draw it on graph paper.

Dramatic Re-Enactment
Dramatic Re-Enactment

Although it looks like it is complicated, it really is fairly straightforward. Besides, most people (I assume) are just going to go about, clicking over every single door in an effort to see which one opens. So it’s… just more of the same.

  Anyway, the Green Lion is pretty much the same, only there’s no secret hole in the back that we can wander through. There is a first aid kit and a box of ammo, so… um… I guess that’s pretty useful. The bigger point of interest, though, is the clock near the entrance.

Good god, they'll trapped it behind glass! Fragile, fragile glass!
Good god, they'll trapped it behind glass! Fragile, fragile glass!

So… one of the hands is a key, and it’s behind glass, huh? And… that’s the only thing stopping you from just grabbing it?

  The other things I can kind of forgive. Maybe rusty metal is tougher than it looks. But this is fucking glass, Harry. You don’t have to answer to anyone. There is no excuse for not just A) whacking it with the pipe, B) Whacking it with the hammer, C) shooting it with the pistol, D) breaking it with the handle of the knife, D) shooting it with the shotgun, E) whacking it with the axe’s handle, F) shooting it with the rifle.

  I say again: developers, stop putting minor obstacles that could be easily circumvented with the player’s inventory in the way of a key object. It’s bad design and makes your player characters look far stupider than you intend.

  Back out in the hallway, we find a couple of familiar baddies have spawned—the nurses. They seem to be weaker than when last we encountered them, but it’s probably just my awesome skills coming to the fore. Or something. Shut up. The point is that the vast majority of enemies in Nowhere are the nurses, which is lazy but at the same time fitting with the theme.

  After relieving the nurses of their back strain in the most reckless and horrible way possible, I discover that the next two doors are locked (yea!), however only one has a marking on it. This time, we have Ophiel, who is apparently the Olympian spirit governing Mercury or some such rot. Apparently, he is a big proponent of the Philosopher’s Stone—specifically, turning quicksilver into an object supposedly capable of granting eternal life/turning base elements into gold.

  Kids, quicksilver is the element mercury. It pretty much does the opposite of granting eternal life. This is why we don’t like supernatural claptrap control what we put into our bodies.

  Also, this is the second vague allusion to alchemy—the first was in Midwich. What does it have to do with anything? Not a clue!

  Anyway, the last unlocked door leads to some stairs leading downward. We emerge in… um… Midwich. The non-shitty (or slightly less shitty) Midwich.

So, wait, how does this room get the 'non-horror' aesthetic?
So, wait, how does this room get the 'non-horror' aesthetic?

There’s a solitary desk in here. If we examine it, we see that there are phrases gouged into the wood.

Oh, well, that's pleasant.
Oh, well, that's pleasant.

So, I guess Alessa didn’t really fit in too well at school, did she? It explains why she played hooky and ended up brain-blasting some poor actor. Sadly, if she was bullied, then her teachers (or at least K. Gordon) didn’t seem to notice it as much as her shitty home life.

  Wait… how the fuck does that happen?

  Ugh… I don’t want to know.

  That’s really all there is to the classroom.

  Or… wait… is this directed at Harry? That would seem plausible if this reality shifting was controlled by cult, but we don’t know, do we? I guess we just have to assume that it’s Alessa remembering why she wanted to kill everyone in this stupid town.

  The other door leads to Alchemilla’s operating room. On the slab we have a utensil tray with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, which latter of which will no doubt come in very handy when we backtrack alllll the way back to the first room we explored in order to rip the key out of the spigot. So, there ya go. You know, if there was a more cohesive aesthetic to the stuff we pick up and its relevance to the story, it would be implied that these would be the tools that butcher Dr. Skeeves used to operate on Alessa.

  Oh, shit, what if these were bloody set of bulldog forceps and a scalpel or something? That would have been badass! Sure, we would have had to have retooled the fucking faucet “puzzle” (what a loss), but it would have been sooooo much better. Instead we get to pick up the world’s dirtiest basic home maintenance set and head out.

I'm not saying that tools should always be pristine or anything, but... ew.
This is after we take them. They left a stain. I'm not saying that tools should always be pristine or anything, but... ew.

  As Harry runs back to the faucet and, specifically, has the ascend the stairs, I’d like to point out that I like the idea of putting the classroom and the operating room in the “basement”, suggesting that these are places best left buried. It’s a pretty neat touch—it doesn’t necessarily work, considering that as we move forward, a lot of things deserve to be buried, but it’s still a cool moment.

  Anyway, the faucet room. Open up yer inventory and let ‘er rip, Harry!

No, not that!
No, not that!

Couple of things. First, I would have thought that Harry would just yank the key out, namely because I’m pretty sure that’s not how faucets work. The stopper would be back where the spigot is. Stop it, Silent Hill, you’re embarrassing yourself. Second, though, I have to give a lot of credit to the designers for not having the faucet gush blood. I’m sure that took an almost inhuman amount of restraint.

  The key we just freed is the Ophiel key, which is splendid, as I’m sure it’s going to reveal another hallway that will require six more keys to get one step closer to where we need to be. Gameplay!

At least there's an excuse as to how Harry knows the kind of key it is.
At least there's an excuse as to how Harry knows the kind of key it is.

  Before we find out, though, let’s check out the very last door in this area. It, too, is locked. It has a sigil on it, this time for Hagith. He gets to rule over Venus or whatever, and also can turn stuff into other stuff. He's also totes hot, I guess. It's all very scientific, I assure you. It was either this or the door was named after a hungry Scot with a lisp.

  …

  Fuck you, I’m hilarious.

  Anyway, the Ophiel hallway deposits us right in front of a plaque that we’ve read and solved before—the Grim Reaper’s List.

You know whose name should have been on here? Alessa's. Just sayin'.
You know whose name should have been on here? Alessa's. Just sayin'.

Unlike before, the door right next to us now has a Ouija board stapled to the wall.

I heard this was going to be in the sequel of that terrible movie.
I heard this was going to be in the sequel of that terrible movie.

In case you forgot, the solution to this puzzle is just to rearrange the dead people in order of youngest to oldest and tap out their first initial. In this case, ALERT. We figured this out because, 1) it’s the opposite of what we did in Origins, and 2) every other variant doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  The door unlocks because of our mighty brainmeats. We step on through to an empty storeroom, beyond which is another door. We go through that door, which leads to the… morgue?... I guess. There’s a bunch of dead bodies on stretchers, so that’s what we’re going with. There’s a Star of David on the far wall, although the game calls it the Amulet of Solomon, which actually is technically more accurate based on chronology (it was originally known as the Seal of Solomon).

Let's all be thankful Harry didn't mistake it for a shuriken and end up losing an eye.
Let's all be thankful Harry didn't mistake it for a shuriken and end up losing an eye.

Supposedly, this handy seal will grant power over demons—either defeating/destroying/subjugating them, but I’m not an expert of supernatural whatsits. Please do not cite this blog as evidence for anything.

  So… um… I guess we’re collecting more items of vague magical powers for vague magical purposes? Maybe? I… I don’t know. All I know is that, if you look in the inventory, Harry identifies Solomon as a magician which I find a little weird. I mean, I guess it’s kind of accurate but… uh… wouldn’t you know him more as a wise king? I mean… it’s just… how does Harry know this piece of trivia, but everything else is a goddamn mystery?

  When we head back the way we came, we discover Lisa waiting for us in the storeroom like a creeper. Harry is a big stupid jerk, like usual…

'Jesus, Lisa, you are so stupid! God, I hate your stupid dumb face!'--Harry, winning an award for sympathy
"Jesus, Lisa, you are so stupid! God, I hate your stupid dumb face!"--Harry, winning an award for sympathy

… but Lisa ignores that to give us some really bad news. She tells him she understands why she’s wandering around while everyone else is dead—she’s just like them! So, dead! Or… um… infected? Er… could someone actually tell me what the deal is with the parasite/zombie thing? I really, really have no idea what the fuck is going on with the staff of Alchemilla. Or Cybil, for that matter. We saved her just fine. So all we need is to find some red stuff and we can clear up that whole being dead/having a catfish living in your guts right up.

  Anyway, she gives us this humdinger of a line…

Is this like not noticing you haven't shaved for three weeks? Because even then, I find it a bit difficult to believe. :(
Is this like not noticing you haven't shaved for three weeks? Because even then, I find it a bit difficult to believe. :(

Ha, ha, what? How do you not notice that you’re dead? Or… um… infected? Oh, Christ, I don’t know anymore.

  Lisa goes in for a hug in the weirdest way possible…

Ha, ha, Lisa... you can stop now. :(
Ha, ha, Lisa... you can stop now. :(

… (I mean, Jesus, look at that spine… how can she walk like that?)…

Pretty sure people can stay upright like that. :(
Pretty sure people can't stay upright like that. :(

… only for Harry to freak the fuck out and shove her into a wall…

Harry, come on, man! She just wants to not die alone! :(
Harry, come on, man! She just wants to not die alone! :(

… namely because Lisa starts fucking melting


My favorite part is when she falls to her knees, yet her walking still makes shoe sounds.. :(

… which ends up making her look like… well, like she fucking melted.

You, uh... you got a little something there. :(
You, uh... you got a little something there. :(

Harry scrambles out of the room and blocks the door with his body, as the sobbing Lisa is left begging to not die alone.

Oh, come on, man, you're already covered in blood and guts. I doubt you can catch whatever she has. :(
Oh, come on, man, you're already covered in blood and guts. I doubt you can catch whatever she has. :(

  Look, to be honest, I have a scene shockingly similar in act three of my homage to Silent Hill. I’m not too hard on this sequence, because it actually has a strong semblance of emotionality and hopelessness. Even though Lisa hasn’t been the most helpful of side characters in this installment (or Origins, really), no one deserves this… whatever “this” is. It tugs at the heart strings in just the right way to kind of erase the hokiness of the earlier cutscenes.

  Now, it’s not perfect. If they had built up Lisa to be a lot more useful and a lot less superfluous, it would have been about a million times more effective. If we had more than just the most cursory of conversations with her—that is, if we had actually developed her character—this could have been game-stoppingly emotional. If we had known the consequences of her existence before this point, it would be relevant on both an emotional and narrative level.

  Instead, it’s just kind of killing someone for the sake of killing them.

  Damned effective, though.

:(
:(

  That was… depressing. Tune in next time for the episode Invasion of Privacy.

BONUS: I suggest you watch the scene in its entirety. The music really brings home the emotionality of what’s going on, even if it doesn’t quite make a whole lot of sense. Also, it drowns out the fact that Lisa falls down at one point and is clearly wearing shoes on her knees.

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

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