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  Welcome back, loyal Traipsers! It is I, Jonathan Charles Bruce, and we are here to move one drunken step closer to finishing this unnecessarily convoluted mess of a game. Last time on Traipsing Through Silent Hill, we spent a presumably worrying amount of time in a child’s room, the purpose of which was to parse some kind of meaning from the clues we found there. Sadly, those clues completely broke the whatever narrative was struggling to be taken seriously, but at least they tried having some kind of deeper meaning or something.

  Cough.

  Anyway, the door opposite the one we entered has a mess of indentations and a crappy poem on it.

The poem does not count as a puzzle. Even if it did, it is a rub a thing on a thing class solution, so it does not even count.
The poem does not count as a puzzle. Even if it did, it's a "rub a thing on a thing" class solution, so it doesn't even count.

Said indentations look like a great place to store all of our magical knickknacks. Doing so unlocks whatever mechanism was keeping the door shut while also making it look like the kind of gaudy entryway you’d find at a mall psychic’s place.

  I assume anyway. They won’t show you what it looks like in a decent close-up after the fact.

  We emerge on the upper floor of the Gillespie residence, a place I recognize from the Nullrigins “prologue” area. Granted, it’s not on fire, but it’s still pretty obvious where we’ve been spit out. It also happens to be the staging area of a pair of ghosts dramatically re-enacting pertinent past details for Harry. You know, for the second time in about five minutes of game play.

  The two actors of our little drama today are Dahlia and Alessa. They seem to be engaging in the most awkward tug-of-war imaginable.

I just keep hoping for Alessa to pop one of Dahlia's joints.
I just keep hoping for Alessa to pop one of Dahlia's joints.

After a bit of unsubtitled muttering, Alessa shouts at her mother that she doesn’t want to do… something. Dahlia asks to siphon off her daughter’s powers for… purposes. Well, this is a nice, vague start.

Careful, Alessa! She wants your power for THINGS!
Careful, Alessa! She wants your power for THINGS!

She also insists that doing so will make “everyone happy” and somehow be for Alessa’s “good”. We’ve now officially crossed the “vague” steppes into the “terribly uncomfortable” lowlands.

Once again, Harry just kind of watches in stunned silence. Or dopey silence. One of the two.
Once again, Harry just kind of watches in stunned silence. Or dopey silence. One of the two.

I feel I should mention that, while Dahlia has had some of the worst dialogue in the game, she also has some of the most legitimately creepy and worthwhile lines in this last stretch. It also helps that, even though the voice acting for this game is pretty all-around mediocre, the actress nails her final scenes. Pretty much from here on out, if Dahlia is speaking, it is crazy B-list character actor level of hamminess, and it is fucking sweet™.

  Anyway, Alessa doesn’t want to do whatever weird, creepy shit her mother is planning and pleads that her progenitor just not be a murderous lunatic for, like, three seconds, Jesus Christ mom. It’s… actually heartbreaking.

This poor kid. :(
This poor kid. :(

  This heartfelt pleading to not be a tool for evil triggers some synapse to fire in Dahlia’s brain, which causes her to… uh… vaguely hint at something sinister. After Alessa is basically all “Ma, you’re weirding me out,” Dahlia proceeds to mutter to herself. I’m assuming, that, anyway. She says, “Herein lies the mother’s womb, containing the power to create life,” and while potentially a great way to scare off a serial killer, is seldom something you address directly toward someone you don’t want to think that you’re dangerous.

  To put it another way, Dahlia’s womb talk is gross and ratchets up the “tremendously uncomfortable” meter another couple dozen places. Also, it’s more than a bit non-sequitor, but hey, I’m sure between the White Claudia and cooking sherry Dahlia’s been slugging off camera, it’s hard to keep a coherent thought buzzing around for more than a few seconds.

  As if that’s not enough, she announces this for the world to know:

Crosswords? Macrame? Masturbation? Shadow boxing? Give us a clue, Big G!
Crosswords? Macrame? Masturbation? Shadow boxing? Give us a clue, Big G!

What, precisely, she could have done herself is ambiguous, but I’m pretty sure she’s talking about psychically knocking up her daughter with the cult’s god, Samael. Also, Alessa’s about seven. Just let the abject horror sink in for a moment.

  The ghosts fade out, leaving us to stew in this hallway and ponder the fact that Silent Hill took the already pretty fucked up Carrie and jacked it up with pandimensional horror beasts and rape. Enjoy Dahlia, religious fanatic, realize that she get her daughter preggers with a cosmic horror and somehow think that this is a good thing.

  Once we regain control of Harry Mason, freelance ghost watcher, the only place to really go is down a preposterously long staircase, thus triggering the final non-ending cutscene. But before we do that, let’s have Harry stare at the house’s horrifying artwork while we take a brief trip down memory lane, shall we?

It may be the nightmare projecting these paintings, but, really, would you expect the real house to be any less awful?
It may be the nightmare projecting these paintings, but, really, would you expect the real house to be any less awful?

  Those of you playing along know that, at the end of Origins, I did some math and figured out that Travis Grady walked into the last boss fight with 425.08 pounds of stuff. That is a ridiculous amount of inventory to be carrying around with you, and one of the reasons I did that was because it’s funny. But another reason was for this moment right here.

  You see, Origins gets a lot of flak because of the disposable/breakable weapons you pick up and inevitably horde through the game, the highlights of which include televisions, lamps, and profoundly magical toasters that will always love you no matter how many you break across a taffyman’s face. And yes, it is silly. But it is no less silly than this fucking game right here. And I’ll prove it to you.

  Harry is presently walking into the final confrontation with abominations from beyond the understanding of mere mortals with 32 health drinks, 12 first aid kits, 3 ampoules, 215 handgun bullets, 55 shotgun shells, 54 rifle rounds, a kitchen knife, a 3 foot long length of steel pipe, an emergency hammer of comparable length, a hand axe, a flashlight, a radio, a camera, a receipt, a VHS tape, a pistol, a shotgun, and a rifle. Ignoring the fact that Harry’s just wandering around with a leather jacket, that’s still a stupid amount of things to be hefting around.

  But as you should realize by now, it is not enough to just know it’s silly. We have to prove it.

Prepare to be mathed.
Prepare to be mathed.

  But to find out just how stupid Harry’s hauling situation actually is, we need to math a few things. First, we need to figure out Harry’s height. And for that, we need him to equip the steel pipe. The steel pipe is the only thing in the game at this point that is given a definitive measurement by Harry—the weapon’s description places it at three feet. Now, sure, it could be Harry guessing, but it’s all we have to go on.

Harry has surprisingly decent posture.
Harry has surprisingly decent posture.

  As you can see in the image above, the pipe’s length is 80 pixels, which would make Harry’s height about five feet, almost eight inches tall. The next step of the process is to borrow an image from the Silent Hill wiki and map out some the height of our equipment. To be kind to Harry, we won’t include the ampoules, the ammunition, or the other miscellaneous shit he’s carting around.

  We popped Harry on over to a canvas size for easy mathematical conversion—in this case, we just tripled everything. 80 pixels is now a solitary foot, with an inch clocking in at 6 and 2/3 of a pixel. This puts stately Harry at 453 pixels. To find out measurements for the items, I took dimensions from real-world equivalents and converted the information as best as I could to our two dimensional version of Harry Mason. I used a full sized first aid kit, as when we trip on them in the game they are pretty damn big. For the health drinks, I used a can of delicious REDACTED—AVERTISING CHECK BOUNCED for the measurements.

  That’s right, friends, REDACTED, the only soda that gives you the great taste of carbonated eggnog year round!

  Anyway, what we end up with is this:

Oh, good lord. There aren't enough fannypacks in the world!
Oh, good lord. There aren't enough fannypacks in the world!

  That is a comical amount of gear, friends. And that’s without the ammo! Even if we imagine that he has a belt loop and a magic Velcro back which will allow him to strap things to the back of his jacket, the first aid supplies are still completely unworkable. And, as you can see, it’s not exactly like he’d have a spare hand to even grab the damn things.

Fear me, please!
Fear me, please!

  Naturally, the only solution is to use some of the first aid kits and health drinks as makeshift body armor. And since Harry strikes me as the kind of guy who is self-conscious about his height, perhaps he can subtly grab some extra inches between interactions with the ladyfolk. Please don’t read any more into that last sentence.

Perfect.
Perfect.

Good ol’ Harry “The Man Who Wears a Box” Mason. I think this image may be more emblematic of this experience than it probably should be.

  The point of this exercise, Traipsers, is that video games don’t have to mirror reality perfectly. I am okay with Harry walking around with more weaponry than should be absolutely necessary. I am okay with him shoving a massive stone tablet down whatever pocket dimension is holding his excess crap. I am not okay with disparaging an entry in the series for something the first game did and no one cares about.

  So with that dreadfully important bit out of the way, let’s trigger our ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny!

Walking up these steps every day must be hell on the joints.
Walking up these steps every day must be hell on the joints.

So it seems like long-ass stairs are a bit of a series tradition. Awesome.

  We trip face-first into another cutscene, this time featuring the very real Dahlia Gillespie, her very bandaged and charred daughter, and Alessa/Cheryl looking very ashamed of herself. Cybil is somehow here and pointing a gun at Dahlia’s face, which doesn’t seem to be phasing Dahlia in the slightest.

I'm monologuing here!
I'm monologuing here!

  A couple of things of note—first, Cybil’s shirt has miraculously healed. Second, how the fuck did she beat us here, of all places? We were caught up in the vortex that sucked Dahlia and Alessa into Nowhere! We left Cybil to die recover on the carousel! First, she somehow manages to completely outpace us when we leave the sewer and beat us to the boat, and now this?

  That’s it: Cybil is a fucking witch. Why aren’t we playing as her? Witch Cop! Premiering this spring on NBC!

  Also, the fact that Dahlia clearly doesn’t give a shit about Cybil pointing a loaded gun at her face is a pretty strong indication of the lack of impact our police officer friend has had on the plot. So, hurray, game, for pointing out your narrative flaws.

  Also, too, it was at this point that the game glitched and I lost audio, so this scene was performed in classic vintage, pre-talkie Hollywood style. It was… disappointing. Like I said earlier, Dahlia rocks the hell out of her lines. Luckily, my screenshot run worked just fine.

  Anyway, Dahlia starts this scene by namedropping a macguffin that is simply not present in this game.

Between this and the holy amulet of Pikachu, we'll never find the Fitzmorgan Diamonds!
Between this and the holy amulet of Pikachu, we'll never find the Fitzmorgan Diamonds!

Ha, ha, what? What the fucking what, madam? Are you introducing another, presumably major, plot element in the last ten minutes of the game? The fuck is a Metraton, you dumbass? Do you mean the Metatron, one of the archangels? Also who is using it? What for? What does that do? Is there another adventure elsewhere in this shitty town that is infinitely more productive than Harry’s? Can I play that game instead?

  I guess what bothers me the most about this is that this kind of implies, to me, that there was intended to be extra material that had to be cut due to time constraints. But rather than just re-record some dialogue or just, I don’t know, NOT USE IT, they kept it in, thus making this non-sequitor completely batshit crazy. And if there wasn’t more material, they literally just said “Yeah, there were other things happening, but we’re going to purposely leave you in the dark because fuck you.” If it wasn’t obvious by now that we’re not playing the actual hero of this story, this line should let you know fairly clearly.

  A coworker and I were discussing this the other day, and he pointed out that a good mystery plot is like a puzzle that you are given all the pieces of the puzzle and work out where everything goes. With this, the developers are hiding pieces and acting all proud when they finally reveal their duplicity. I would go one step further and say they’re not only hiding pieces, but they’re only letting you see one side of the puzzle—the cardboard side—and you only occasionally glimpse something far more interesting before they smack your naughty hand and you have to go back to the boring tedium of partially assembling a puzzle. And they’re giggling about you the entire time.

  Sorry… I may be really annoyed by this.

  Back to Dahlia!

I work best under pressure, you see.
I work best under pressure, you see.

Why, yes, it’s always good to know that an attack of food poisoning, engine trouble, giant moths, or getting pulled over for speeding can derail your sinister plan. Maybe you shouldn’t cut things so close, you dolt.

  Dahlia, continuing to be oblivious to the POLICE OFFICER POINTING A GUN AT HER HEAD, proceeds to incriminate herself as the world’s worst mother/creepiest cultist by saying, “Even though Alessa stopped, his little girl still has to go. What a pity.” Well, those are her lines according to the subtitles, anyway—she doesn’t say the word “still”. Then she gives a very sinister laugh, implying that she didn’t actually mean that it was a pity at all and that she’s been secretly evil this whole time!

LIAR!
LIAR!

  I love that laugh, by the way. I want that as my ringtone.

  Cybil then realizes she’s there, is a cop, is in a hostage situation, and that she has her gun out and pointed at a suspect. She proceeds to shout “Freeze!”, doesn’t give Dahlia any time to respond, then shoots. Um… without going into too bleak a place, that’s most certainly not how police work is supposed to go, Cybil, buddy. Are you sure you’re up for this? Are you sure you’re even a cop? Maybe she was on her way to a Halloween party and got confused in her accident.

  Anyway, the bullet hits a magic wall, because of course things aren’t every as easy as shooting the asshole in the face.

Well, that's not a good sign.
Well, that's not a good sign.

And then Cybil is knocked on her ass for her hubris.

Well, that was a goofy sign.
Well, that was a goofy sign.

I forgot to correctly add the adjective “hilariously” in front of the word “knocked”. I regret my error.

  This ends Cybil’s contribution to the plot in any capacity, so it’s a really good thing that we saved her. So the best ending just tacks on a couple of extra lines that imply there’s something infinitely more exciting going on behind the scenes and that Cheryl’s time on earth is limited or something. So, thank god for that, am I right?

  If we don’t rescue Cybil from the evil whatsit squatting between her shoulder blades, the scene starts now, with Harry walking up to Dahlia and announcing her name, because what’s worked for every other cutscene might as well work here, right?

Wheelchair! Mummy! Girl! Chainlink fence! Jacket! I'm Harry!
Wheelchair! Mummy! Girl! Chainlink fence! Jacket! I'm Harry!

Also, Cybil was “knocked away” far enough away from the action to be out of sight apparently. This just means that they shoved her far enough into a corner so they didn’t have to render another cutscene with her prone form in it just in case the player saved her. Clever, Konami. Clever.

  Dahlia then insults Harry with an amazing delivery of the line, “Well, well, well. To think you’d make it this far.” Holy shit, she may be an evil windbag, but when the writer actually has clichéd villainous monologues for her, she doesn’t disappoint.

  He asks where Cheryl is instead of just opening fire on the woman who betrayed him and rescuing the downed Alessa. Innocently, our antagonist is all “What are you talking about?” before revealing that he has seen Cheryl many times, “restored to her former self.” Harry, ever the dense nimrod, responds with a borderline-catatonic…

'This is going so well!'--Harry 'In Over His Head' Mason
"This is going so well!"--Harry 'In Over His Head' Mason

Way to show her you mean business, Harry!

  Dahlia points to Alessa/Cheryl/Crispy Wheelchair-Bound Corpse and says that one of those people is Cheryl, by which she of course means all. Harry says “That’s absurd,” to which Dahlia retorts, “You are the only one who thinks so.”

  Ha, ha, no, Dahlia. This is patently absurd. Just because you don’t think so doesn’t mean that the scenario you’ve constructed wherein a girl split her soul into two to stop your pan-dimensional deity of nightmares from inflicting Armageddon on the rest of the world isn’t A BIT ON THE FUCKING WEIRD SIDE.

  Harry asks why she is doing this, apparently okay with the fact that Alessa and Cheryl are psychic-twins or whatever. Dahlia then tells us the fucking plot because they haven’t actually done that up to this point outside of a few “Oh, we’re so clever!” moments piled on right before deadline, apparently.

  Since Dahlia can’t go more than five minutes without repeating herself, she says a variant of “seven years” twice. In a row, mind you.

Was it... seven years ago?
Was it... seven years ago?

This is obviously to get warmed up for the big reveal. Long story short, Alessa was burned alive some undetermined number of years ago I should really get around to researching (see SH:Origins) and has been kept alive and tortured, trapped in an endless nightmare to nurture some “He”, presumably Samael, so that the horrible monster can be born. And apparently, it’s today!

WILL HE NEED A PRESENT!?
WILL HE NEED A PRESENT!?

I hear she knew it would come.

  Dahlia then channels a horse.

The 'villain was a horse the whole time' trope is a bit unexpected at this juncture, to be honest.
The 'villain was a horse the whole time' trope is a bit unexpected at this juncture, to be honest.

She means and says “nigh”, but I really, really wish that she had mispronounced it as “neigh”. It would have been amazing.

  In true megalomaniacal cult-leader fashion, Dahlia apparently announces to the world why she’s doing this—to wipe away all sorrows and return to paradise. She also has a misplaced comma…

They... kind of phoned the subtitling part in, didn't they?
They... kind of phoned the subtitling part in, didn't they?

… but the bigger concern is the fact that how we went from “I need power!” to “I wanna bring god back!” is never explained.

  Like, I can see how if Dahlia wanted to use Alessa’s power for altruistic reasons and took a shortcut to herald the return of their god, that would make sense to me. And after burning her only daughter alive, Dahlia, driven to excessive guilt for her monstrous behavior, doubled-down on the whole salvation aspect of it. It would work, and it would be tragic.

  But it’s implied that Dahlia is pretty much a horrible, power-mad child abuser from the get-go. I’m sure that whatever power she wanted from Alessa wasn’t related to sin-cleansing. So, how, exactly, did we manage to get from point A to B?

  Anyway, we get this gloriously insane moment in the hall of super villainy:

Does the grandmother of god get anything good out of the deal?
Does the grandmother of god get anything good out of the deal?

This somehow causes a glowing light to engulf both Alessas into one, Super Alessa.

It goes on for a bit, but here are the highlights. BOOM.
It goes on for a bit, but here are the highlights. BOOM.

Alessa… looks really confused as to how exactly she got here.

Oh, jeez, what time is it? You can't let me sleep past noon, mom.
"Oh, jeez, what time is it? You can't let me sleep past noon, mom."

  This is immediately followed by a moment I’ve been waiting for since Zerorigins.

Ha! I think.
Ha! I think.

  Finally! Harry had enough of Dahlia’s obnoxious shit and just off and…

House call!
"House call!"

  Oh, it was Skeeves. Because of course it was Skeeves.

  Dr. K proceeds to be infinitely more effective than a trained police officer concussed partygoer and the protagonist by… well, being the asshole that he is.

Ugh, how did this guy manage to steal the show?
Ugh, how did this guy manage to steal the fucking show?

And even though he is playing a reprehensible fuckwit, the voice actor is just amazing. Chew that scenery, Skeeves! I command it!

  Harry shouts “Kaufmann!” only to be ignored in lieu of the doctor yelling at the woman he just shot. Hey, writers—if the protestations of your hero are ignored by the two primary antagonists arguing, you’ve done something horrible wrong. Seriously, Harry is a non-entity for the rest of this scene. It’s mostly Kaufmann and Dahlia bickering at each other.

  Dr. Skeeves shouts, “Did I ask for this! (sic) Nobody uses me! You won’t get away with this!” which is a bit optimistic, pal. Did you see this place? Anyway, Dahlia gets all snippy and asks what the hell he thinks he can do. Dr. Kaufmann, heartless motherfucker that he is, scolds her for being cocky before pulling a… thing… out of his jacket pocket.

Oh, my god! He has a... a... the hell is that? A Starburst? Is that what's gonna save the day?
Oh, my god! He has a... a... the hell is that? A Starburst? Is that what's gonna save the day?

Also, his gun is now gone for reasons.

  It’s a good thing that Dahlia has eyes like a thing that has really good eyesight, as she ID’s what it is from her position on the floor and shouts “Aglaophotis! I thought I got rid of that!”

  …

  So, the magic red shit has a name? And someone knew what it was? AND THE GAME NEVER ONCE FUCKING TOLD US UNTIL THE VERY LAST CUTSCENE? We have no idea what it does! We have no idea what it is! All we know is that it somehow saved Cybil and oh my fucking god, I give up. Fuck you, game. This is stupid. You don’t get to keep on layering on plot elements until I’m too tired to question it.

  THAT. ISN’T. HOW. STORYTELLING. WORKS.

  Kaufmann then says something that suggests that there was even more plot happening when Harry was out doing absolutely nothing productive:

I may be a monster who inflicts unconscionable cruelties on the world around me, but I have more of an effect on the plot than the so-called hero over here. The hero who is... um... staring off into the distance.
"I may be a monster who inflicts unconscionable cruelties on the world around me, but I have more of an effect on the plot than the so-called hero over here. The hero who is... um... staring off into the distance."
Also, there's another misplaced comma. They aren't that hard to figure out.

Then he insults Dahlia by telling her that she’s easy (to fool, assumingly), then says that there’s more Alfalotipus. Why there would need to be more is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with here and now. Unless this was a hint about the broken bottle in his office at Alchemilla… but wouldn’t that suggest that there were more full bottles elsewhere to find?

EDIT--12/15/2014--Going through the older entries, I was reminded that Harry never actually mentions that any of the Algernoctopus he finds in Skeeves's office is salvagable. Even with this hint, how the hell do we reasonably come to any other conclusion other than "Oh, that red stuff in the office was this shit. Neat, I guess."?--END EDIT--

  Uggggh.

  Also, it seems like someone accidentally randomized Skeeves’s lines here and it still makes the same amount of sense, so… a step up, maybe kind of? I don’t even know anymore.

  Dahlia gives the weakest attempt at stopping Dr. Skeeves imaginable:

You are such a dick!
"You are such a dick!"

Surprisingly, he doesn’t stop it at all. Instead, he chucks that glass bottle at Alessa.

Oh, man!
Oh, man!

And it spins in the air majestically.

Oh, hey. Have you been helped?
Oh, hey. Have you been helped?

Arcing end over end toward its destiny.

::cough::
::cough::

Um… taking its sweet time.

Back from the lobby. Did I miss any... goddamn it.
Back from the lobby. Did I miss any... goddamn it.

Someone was really, really proud of their “spinning bottle” animation. Seriously. This takes about 20 seconds. Not even joking. Just watchin' a spinnin' bottle for a third of a minute.

Oh, come on! I blinked! Not fair!
Oh, come on! I blinked! Not fair!

There we go!

  The magical Alisaurus juice spills on Alessa, and then something terrible happens. Remember how a catfish-sized monster clambered its way out of Cybil a couple of updates ago? Ever wonder what would happen if something larger than that was presently calling an innocent human being covered in Agolipojuicicon home?

... That's not how women's biology works! THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS AT ALL.
... That's not how women's biology works! THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS AT ALL!

  Oh. H… hi, Samael.

Of all the dog headed beasts, you are the most goat-skulliest!
Of all the dog headed beasts, you are the most goat-skulliest!

  How are you doing?

Hate-Lightning. Great. Samael is a Jedi.
Hate-Lightning. Great. Samael is a Jedi.

  Oh.

  Oh, dear.

  Dahlia’s been lit on fire and our only backup is Dr. Skeeves, who is going to promptly fall into a hole the moment we get control back. That leaves the world’s safety in the hands of Harry Mason, professional “book” “writer” and amateur adventurer complete incompetent boob.

  We’re doomed.

  Join me next time for We’re Doomed.

BONUS: No part of this scene will go unchewed.

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

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