Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekly Shlockness with John Mikula

                Alright y’all, sorry for the late upload but when you wake up at noon and work a nine hour shift there really isn’t a lot of opportunities to reflect on one’s busy week of playing games. This ones probably going to be pretty short because I'm writing it so late, but I'll try to be smarter about when I write these in the future. If you’re a loyal shlock-head and have been following my escapades for the past few weeks then you’ll know that I’ve been looking to play Silent Hill 2 for quite a while. Hell, I think even the very first Weekly Shlockness mentions how I’ve been looking for a way to play that game. Well my lovely and talented readers, thanks to a very awesome lady friend of mine who graciously relinquished her copy unto my slimy, claw-like grasp, I have finally been able to play Silent Hill 2. Not even the imminent disappointment of another MMwMM could sully my good mood this week, so without further ado (which is apparently the right way to type that phrase) let me tell you about Silent Hill 2.
You don't say
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                It’s pretty cool. There are a lot of similarities between this game and the first game which (believe it or not) kind of came as a surprise to me. I was half expecting something similar to the jump from Resident Evil 3 to 4, especially when the Silent Hill games aren’t exactly canonical. Don’t ask me why I thought this, I’m just really dumb. Anyway, I’m a little over six hours in and I’ve been doing a lot of the same things I did in Silent Hill 1. I’ve been sifting through the fog of the crappy little lake town, looking for ammo, running from monsters, occasionally visiting the hellish altered Silent Hill, and trying to tolerate the (supposedly) normal people walking around Silent Hill. Seriously, what the f*ck is up with Eddie?
hey pass the weed...and the pizza
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                What is probably the coolest addition to the formula is the infamous Pyramid Head who I think is one of the coolest video game villains probably of all time. The first time you see him he is behind a set of bars and is completely inaccessible to the player. Until you walk into a room he just stands there starring you down…and it’s pretty creepy. What’s even creepier is when you walk in on him, not once but twice, having his way with a mannequin. It’s pretty messed up. Now, Pyramid Head himself is in no way dynamic. He shows up at specific points and does specific things so he’s not like Nemesis in Resident Evil 3; but when he does show up it sudden and entirely unexpected. I was walking around the roof tops of the hospital and I made sure to survey the entire area before going to the next door to progress. It’s not until you’re just about to open that door when good ol’ Mr. Head shows up to throw you off the roof. Meanwhile I’m sitting there yelling at the T.V. “Where the sh*t did you come from!” When stuff like that happens it makes me feel like his triangle ass is everywhere just watching me. It’s pretty unsettling and I’ve been catching myself jumping at shadows because I think it’s Pyramid Head coming out to f*ck me.
"I only know two things, raping and stabbing. Take your pick"
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                Beyond all of that the scariest part of Silent Hill 2 (and this is true for Silent Hill 1 as well) is the sound track. I don’t know who they got to compose music for this game but they should be given at least three trophies for their work because the sound track is outstanding. Same thing goes for the Foley work as well. Occasionally the typical monsters in the game will get on their bellies and start sliding around, and when they do they make this horrible rusty metal scratchy sound that is truly maddening. It’s as if instead of chalk in school they had razor blades, and instead of a teacher it was Mike McGee reading the latest MMwMM (truly terrifying). Footsteps echo in just the right way, and all the doors are wonderfully creaky. Without these sound effects the world of Silent Hill wouldn’t feel nearly as vivid as it does.

                The story, yet again, doesn’t make any sense so far. You play as this guy James who went looking for his dead wife after he received a mysterious letter from her. Spooky, right? Things get derailed quickly as you meet up with some crazy hooker, a fat slob, and a bratty little girl. Now I don’t really know what’s going on and it doesn’t look like I’m going to get any clear answers any time soon; but I’m ok with that. The narrative is hazy and disjointed in a very Silent Hill fashion that makes it feel distinct form anything else. It is also part of why I like this game so much. So far I’m having a really wonderful experience with Silent Hill 2. It builds upon the previous game in a great way and would be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

                A lot of my week was Silent Hill, but I did manage to play a bit more of Resident Evil 4 and a bit more of Psychonauts. I’m happy to say that I’m still enjoying both games very much and if you want to know more about what I think of those games then you should check out last week’s Weekly Shlockness because there really isn’t much more for me to say about them (yet). With that in mind I've got to go to bed. I hope this column has proved to be somewhat readable in my exhausted state. The things I do for you Shlock-heads. 

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