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  Welcome back, Traipsers! On our last action-packed noodle-crammed episode, we got Harry murdered by a whatsit in a fridge, but also managed to collect more keys and trinkets and opened a bag of jellybeans for what I’m sure is totally awesome symbolic reasons that someone has written about 10,000 words on. It was super important and totally not unnecessary padding, why do you ask? Not that it matters, because the end of Nowhere is in sight!

For Reference
For Reference

  Something I forgot to mention the other day is that the Phaleg hallway actually presents a “new” enemy to us—the demon kid shades. They appear to have the exact same skills and vitality of their more opaque brethren, but they’re… less visible and therefore harder to detect, I guess? They still set off the radio, die almost instantly to a solitary whack from the emergency hammer, and are automatically targeted if you are using a firearm, so… um… why?

I couldn't get a good screencap of them alive, so enjoy this one decomposing. Literally. About three seconds later it disappeared.
I couldn't get a good screencap of them alive, so enjoy this one decomposing. Literally. About three seconds later it disappeared.

  I can’t stress how utterly pointless these enemies are. The mole monsters can do a lot of damage and are basically the same thing. Why don’t they get the blur sphere instead? The shades are also only in, like, two fucking areas in the game. Just spawn more nurses or doctors or whatever. Why waste the time on this?

  Anyway, our fancy Bethor key opens the Bethor door, which leads to the generator. We need to shut it off so that the key on the “second floor” is no longer electrified, even though the generator this is based on only powered the elevators, ICUs, and OR in Alchemilla. But whatever—we just use the magic of “Alessa’s nightmare” to cover up sloppy writing and an inability to remember details from more than two hours ago in gameplay time.

Just letting you know that the game even tells you this is stupid when you do this in Alchemilla's normal side.
Just letting you know that the game even tells you this is stupid when you do this in Alchemilla's normal side.

  After shutting off the generator, we have to return alllll the way back to the nightmare version of room 304 to pluck the no-longer fatally charged key out of its hole. I hope that you remembered to unlock the teleporting door shortcut that connects the original hallway to the “second floor”, otherwise you’re going to have to run to the elevator, realize it’s no longer powered, run back to the generator and flip it on, only to run all the way to the second floor and double-check all the doors to find the one you missed, run back to the generator to turn the power back off and get back to room 304!

  That is, if you even know that there’s an unlockable, teleporting door shortcut at all. Ha, ha, fuck you, player!

Oh, I have no idea why, Harry.
I have no idea why the elevator wouldn't be working, Harry. Any suggestions? How aboutthe generator you turned off, you deranged cluster of malformed nervous tissue?

  Also, you can shut off the generator before even seeing the electrified key. So, at this point, Harry will happily turn off a generator that does… something… without provocation, but will under no circumstances investigate the sole doghouse in town without context. Hurray!

  Anyway, there’s some newly spawned invisi-children that are sent back to whatever bored-designer hell they spawned from, and we are rewarded with the Aratron key. This fancy doodad is named after the Olympian spirit of Saturn. It apparently also has the capability to turn living things into stone and convert coal into diamond and vice versa. Seems like kind of a dick to me.

  Now we get to run allll the way back to the Phaleg hallway so we can unlock the entrance to the Aratron room. There is another invisi-kid that spawns to your right in the original hallway, but you don’t even need to fight it—if you just head left toward the Phaleg door, you won’t bump into the translucent beast. Because if you’re going to go through the trouble of spawning one last monster for the player, why bother putting it in a place that they may actually have to figure out a way around or through it? That’s crazy talk!

  Once we step on through the freshly-unlocked Aratron door, we are dropped face first into a cutscene. A ghostly representation of Dahlia, Kaufmann, and two nameless idiots stand around Alessa’s dirty basement bed. It also looks like there’s a ghostly lump on said bed, so I guess that means Alessa is also joining us for this conversation that I’m sure all of us will find most revelatory. Okay, that’s definitely a lie… but take solace in the fact that I have probably murdered the two unnamed practitioners earlier when I was committing pun-related destruction in Alchemilla.

Behold, another excellently blocked scene!
Behold, another excellently blocked scene!

  Dahlia kicks off this plot dump by talking how everything is going according to their sinister plan because... something... is sheltered within the womb. Incidentally, this is a really terrible way to start a date. Then, a guy doing the world’s worst Marlon Brando impression garbles his way through a line about how half the soul is lost and that “the seed lies dormant,” which I… guess… is a problem. Dr. Skeeves gets pissed because he fears that “it” won’t work, but then Dahlia assures him that he should chill the fuck out. She explains that if they… um… “lend a hand”, they will be able to get power.

Um... is anyone else REALLY uncomfortable here?
Um... is anyone else REALLY uncomfortable here?

  I have no idea what she’s getting at here. She then alludes to a bargain she struck with Dr. Skeeves, I guess, but that just raises more questions than answers. Like, I get that she had to get Dr. K to agree to all this, but is he not in on the whole “bringing around god” part of the plan? What “power” was he promised? What kind of lunatic would go for this plan? When did he sign up for this? Is he actually a part of the cult, or does he not give a shit? How could he not be a part of the cult’s ideas, yet still buy into their promises of supernatural power? If he’s not a part of the cult, how could he see what is being done to reality and not make the world's quickest conversion? How on earth wasn’t there a single cultist who started squealing about this plan the moment someone decided burning a child alive was a sign of great spiritual health? OH MY GOD, COULD SOMEONE PLEASE TALK IN SOMETHING OTHER THAN CRYPTIC BULLSHIT?

You mean we burned a child alive for NOTHING!? God, this is the worst birthday ever!
You mean we burned a child alive for NOTHING!? God, this is the worst birthday ever!
Also, this is out of order, but whatever.

  Mumbly doctor laments that without the whole soul, the power that they would siphon off the suffering Alessa would be worthless. Dahlia’s all “That’s NBD, my man. I’ll just torture the half of the soul we do have!” This will somehow prompt the other one to… hear the tortured soul’s pain and… um… come running, I guess.

  So… was Cheryl responding to Alessa’s psychic call or something and bugged her dad until Harry pulled away from his crippling pill addiction to bring her to Silent Hill? The back of the game case claims this is their favorite vacation spot. The manual doesn’t confirm this, just that the two made plans to visit the resort town. Regardless, it seems like a really bad idea to bring an abandoned road baby back to the town you found her by just in case someone wants to reclaim her.

Remember, folks, when stealing a baby, avoid going back to the scene of the crime.
Remember, folks, when stealing a baby, avoid going back to the scene of the crime. Especially for "vacation", you fucking moron.
Also, please don't steal babies.

Long story short, if they have visited before, why hasn’t this happened before? If they haven’t, why has it taken SEVEN FUCKING YEARS for her to feel the call? Or have they only just started torturing her?

  And not to start a debate on the merits of torture or anything, but… if you’re nonchalantly discussing how you’re going to inflict pain on someone or something until you get what you want/an erection, you’re unquestionably the bad guy. How the hell are people this utterly un-self-aware? Did these idiots just stand around cackling about how evil they were all day? Jesus, I wrote a book about villains and heroes and I don’t think any cast member would be totally cool with torturing an adolescent.

Boy, being evil sure is rewarding!
Boy, being evil sure is rewarding!

  Also, outside of one guy apparently doing his absolute worst Marlon Brando impression, this seems to actually be the post-ending material from Origins. That’s kind of neat in a way.

  This is also our very first clue as to why Dahlia and the others are doing this to Alessa—some vague notion of “power” or some such shit. Of course, this means that getting an eight year old pregnant with horrors from beyond the veil will somehow lead to these chucklefucks getting power, although coming to that conclusion is only possible because we played Origins first. There are zero hints that this is what is happening. As of right now, about five minutes from the end of the game, Silent Hill is just about a magical girl trying to destroy her shithole town. Once again, Travis comes through in the clutch.

  And I’m sure someone thought that playing the prequel to start off was going to be a bad idea. Imagine coming into this cold. You’d have no fucking clue what’s going on. Anyone who claims otherwise is so full of shit we could bury them alive and reclassify them as a septic tank.

a
"QA reports that no one has any idea what the fuck is going on."
"How about we add another pointless expository cutscene? It'll be about torturing children."
"You are literally the worst human being I've ever met."

  Oh, sure, there are two teensy clues—Dahlia mentions that something is “Sheltered in the womb,” and mumbly doc ominously intones that the “seed lies dormant”, both of which are gross and super vague. Remember, Alessa was something like eight fucking years old. EIGHT. YEARS. OLD. This game is about the presumably incestuous (as in Dahlia-led) psychic rape resulting in the physical and monstrous pregnancy of a pre-teen, and yet this is shoe-horned in as though it’s an afterthought for the amount of time it’s actually discussed.

  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

  From a narrative standpoint, this completely devalues Alessa’s story—and once again, we are dealing with Alessa’s story. The plot we’ve had thus far is literally just watching Harry meander around while bumping into things. This last minute attempt at “Whoa, it was about this the whole time!” is such lazy fucking writing. Typically, a mystery will seed clues here and there to have you be able to possibly figure it out before the protagonist does. Sometimes, these clues are throwaway lines or outright major revelations as you go along. Either way, this works to keep your interest piqued as you and the protagonists respond to the evolving situation. Sure, the motives of a villain may be shrouded in mystery until they reveal their nefarious plan, but come on!

  This is just so… fucking… terrible. People complain about Harry Potter’s plot dumps at the end of every book even though J.K. Rowling does an infinitely better job of conveying relevant information, but where is the completely justified hate for this? There is no fucking way in hell that at any point any player could have justifiably had a handle on what’s going on. And although Origins was also guilty of not really shedding light onto Alessa’s story, Travis’s narrative at least played out in a way that was better told to the audience, thus downplaying the weaker elements.

  It’s just that the “weaker elements” ARE THE ENTIRE REASON WE’RE HERE. As in playing these games. I don’t think that anyone in their right mind can make an argument about how it was a good decision to focus on Harry or Travis. Alessa—and Alessa alone—is the only character who, if excised from the narrative, would have eliminated the plot completely. And yet somehow, she’s twice relegated to side-show status for a trucker with a “dark past” and a dipshit terrified of wheelchairs.

No, I will not let this go. This is stupid and Harry needs to be punished.
No, I will not let this go. This is stupid and Harry needs to be punished.

There is nothing we learn about Harry. He has no fucking arc or depth. He remains the same imbecile the entire game. You don’t get to dump this on people and pretend that it’s somehow even remotely good.

  Anyway, if you want to hear a bunch of bad-to-middling voice actors chew through some scenery, you can watch the entire mumble-mouthed exchange here:

  The only item to pick up is a Disk of Ouroboros, the last trinket that we need. I know it’s the last because I’ve already finished the game and there’s only one room left to explore.

It just keeps spinning! It never ends! Oh.
It just keeps spinning! It never ends! Oh.

Now, an ouroboros is a snake or similar creature eating its own tail—it’s a symbol of both self-destruction and infinity, depending on how literally you wish to take the imagery. Like the caduceus, it is a tattoo of mine.

  But the biggest and best part about it is the typo associated with it.

Yeah, take that, game!
Yeah, take that, game! Bask in your shame! BASK IN IT!

I normally don’t care about that kind of thing unless it obfuscates the intended meaning, but come on. “It’s” means “it fucking is”. If you're ever unsure, just write it out. This isn’t the most egregious error (that’s coming up!), but c’mon—on top of a second draft, you didn’t have someone edit for this kind of thing?

  And don’t give me that translation excuse. Why? It makes editing all the more important.

  With all of our knickknacks in hand, we head on out back into the Phaleg hallway and prepare for the last major room of the game. It’s a bit of a doozy, so we’ll be tackling that in our next update, Clean Your Room, Young Lady. Until next time, I remain your Jonathan Charles Bruce and you remain my lovely Traipsers! You shall have a great day!

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

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