POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE HILL
… I never really understood how I got there until long after I was already apart of the town. The last thing I remember is seeing Cookie walk into a fog. I followed in after him wondering where he was off to. He seemed quiet and more focused than usual. Eventually the fog grew so thick I could barely see directly in front of me. I called out for Cookie to no response.
It felt like I had been walking for days. Eventually the sand of the beach turned into asphalt and I began following the lonely white road line to keep some sense of direction. It felt as though I was traveling in dream years. So quickly through time that it gave the illusion of time itself standing still. When all at once the silhouette of a sign jutted out through the mist.
“WELCOME TO PARADISE HILL”
That was a few weeks ago I believe. But it could have been years ago. Time is a concept very rarely regarded in Paradise Hill. Besides, I had bigger fish to fry. I stood with the letter in my hand. I couldn’t believe it. The letter read:
“NOTICE OF EVICTION”
I stood shocked. I had fallen in love with the town. No traffic, no lines, no one to bother me. The fog made certain things and people a bit harder to see but really, once you got used to squinting all the time it was quite the destination. It had all of the makings and charm of your typical north west lumber town.
Nurses between shifts walking down the road together. I seem to see the same group every day after I wake up, hop out of bed and take a shower in Paradise Motel. “Hi ladies! Working hard or hardly working?” They always seem to get a kick out of it.
When I did leave the motel room in it was in short bursts. Run to the corner store and pick up a six pack – stop at the diner and use the kitchen to cook up a couple of steaks and then stroll merrily back through the blurry black and white white fog to my hotel room. Occasionally outside some loud fire siren would go off and it’d start to get dark outside but i never seemed to have an issue with it.
Just like anywhere else – you keep to yourself and no one tends to bother you. Not even in Paradise Hill. Until now.
As I read the eviction notice the board of directors at Paradise Hills sited a few reasons for my cause of eviction:
1.) LACK OF LODGING EXPENSES PAID: It’s true. I wasn’t paying rent. I mean no one ever asked. One time some guy with a huge hat knocked on the door and just sort of stood there and walked off. But I didn’t know if he was the landlord or just a creeper.
2.) THEFT OF GOODS AND SERVICES:
– (5) Welcome to Paradise Hill gift shop shirts
– (16) Six packs of Paradise Hill Ale
– (2) Bottles of sexual lubricant
– (1) Copy of The Titanic
– (1) Copy of Silent Hill: Origins
3.) FAILURE TO FACE YOUR OWN INNER DEMONS/ BE CREEPED OUT
Mr Winkle. Please – keep the goods you have procured and please leave town immediately. You are no longer welcome here at majestic Paradise Hill. Also your Sea Lion has been returned to your home safely. Please do not speak to any one on your way out as you have been creeping out the other residents for quite some time now.
PARADISE HILL TOWN HALL
I packed up all my belongings as some beautiful sad music began playing from no where and I backpacked out of town. As I was on the outskirts of town I heard cheers of celebration. But before long I saw the bright lights and sights of Paradise again. Like a tilt-a-whirl through the dark. As I walked through the crowd no one seemed to notice me.
It dawned on me that I was now trapped in Paradise Hill forever. I was free to travel across the globe but no one would ever see me again. Only maybe being able to detect my presence here and there like that one movie with Sean Bean in it.
Which I was completely fine with. I began to think of the possibilities of my new invisible life. I could sneak into Area 51 and finally figure out what the hell that place was all about. I could get into concerts for free. I could haunt people! This was going to be great. But my first mark was a hot dog stand I saw off the path near the coconut’s huts. I grabbed a roll and reached in the hot water and grabbed a hot dog. I slapped it into the bun and took a bite. Ah. Delicious hot dog stand hot dogs. Disgusting and delicious and now free for the rest of m-
“You gonna pay for that?”
Turns out I wasn’t invisible. And I wasn’t getting free hot dogs for the rest of my life. I walked home.
FANCY INTRO VIDEO
Released: March 4 2008
Developer: Climax Action (Sudeki, The Italian Job)
Well back to reality and really sad gaming. Today, we have a case of a game that might have been alright if it wasn’t associated with such a strong franchise. I also sort of wanted to use this opportunity to explain what little work that does actually go into these posts and the sad consequences that result from playing (generally) nothing but bad games all of the time.
When Pinkie and I had a check in conversation (now that she has a palace built it’s become a whole event with feasts and festivities etc) she asked what I was working on. I told her I was planning on starting Silent Hill: Origins. She responded with, “isn’t that the really bad one?”
Which surprisingly it’s not the really bad one. It’s just not a really good one. Which sums up this game perfectly. If it were named anything else it would probably be considered a forgotten but slightly above average survival horror game – starts off kind of lame, picks up and ends in an absolutely nonsensical way. Put the words Silent Hill on the case however and now you’re looking at a lackluster experience.
In the game you start off as rootin’ tootin’ truck driver, Travis Grady. He’s driving his MAC Truck getting his kicks off Route 66 and all that when he spots a little girl in the road. He swerves to avoid her (as most human beings tend to do) and stops to get out and investigate the scene. Looking for the lost child, he sees her approaching from behind him in his rear view mirror only to disappear which scares the shit out of him but certainly doesn’t deter him from abandoning his vehicle and walking miles and miles in a thick fog in the middle of the road.
Eventually this leads Travis to a house fire. He spots some weird broad hanging out by the burning house and runs in because of course he does. And he rescues some kid that’s torched like a marshmallow. Eventually passing out – he awakes in Silent Hill to go search for the french fry kid and madness ensues.
Now, if I may – first off – I am a Daughter Daddy. She is the light of my life. When my wife was pregnant I think I surprised her by crossing my fingers and hoping for a daughter and we were lucky enough to get a bright, beautiful, healthy little lady. I fucking love that kid. BUT – I have watched enough scary movies to know that if I’m out in the middle of no where and some creepy little girl is hanging around – I’M NOT FOLLOWING HER. I DON’T CARE. GO AWAY. LEAVE ME ALONE.
Alright, with that out of the way lets cover a couple of things that this game does really nicely. The sound effects and soundtrack are top notch – Silent Hill quality. Like all other SH soundtracks, composed by the master, Akira Yamaoka. The absolute badass Thom Yorke-esque dark genius of video game soundtracks. The sound effects and music are unnerving and uncomfortable – aptly suited for the atmosphere.
I want to recommend this game so much more but it breaks my own personal cardinal sin of gaming: difficulty due to controls. There is nothing I hate more than fighting a game more than the story or gameplay itself.
Controls and saboteur camera angles are what takes this Silent Hill entry out at the knees. The storyline and voice acting isn’t seminal by any stretch of the imagination but it’s not noteworthy poor. The puzzles are weak and there is a lot of backtracking (RE style) – also not a lot of actual area to explore. For an open town the game has you on rails for a good majority of it.
The game does certain things right but it does so many little things wrong that it begins to become a serious distraction. The small unnecessary changes are enough to anger longtime fans. The nurses now see and react to noise/light/everything – just another static sprite that is easy to avoid but lacks any of their signature creepiness.
You can pick up large heavy objects to toss at monsters – which is cool – but kind of pulls you out of it as you go through your inventory and realize that your character is carrying twelve portable TVs, three filing cabinets, sixteen I.V. drip bag stands and six different guns. I am not a huge fan of Resident Evil’s death-by-no-inventory-space strategy but how many fax machines can one guy hold?
Not to mention you don’t even really need weapons most of the time. The ability to punch your enemies is overpowered for a survival horror game. I have beat up so many nurses in the past week I could star in my own episode of COPS.
Bottom line: Please for the love of all things holy – Konami – if you are going to outsource one of your flagship franchises please let it be to Kojima Productions. I don’t give a shit what beef you guys have. Figure it out and lets do this.
SHOP TIL YOU DROP
Now here is where it gets tricky. To be frank, even the bad games I adore. I just love playing games. I love buying them, I love looking at my horrible collection of bargain bin trash just as much as any rare games I find. Like little trophies made from melted garbage can lids. They’re mine and I absolutely enjoy playing and writing about them.
Generally, on this blog I deal almost exclusively with cheap games. This game? Not very cheap. Luckily for me, I purchased this years ago before everything Silent Hill exploded in price online.
I would never, ever tell anyone what to buy or what not to buy. I wouldn’t even judge anyone for buying Rule of Rose for $16,999. I mean, I would hope you would find it cheaper but whatever at the end of the day it’s your money, you work hard for it, you spend it on whatever you want.
Right now it looks like it’s averaging about $110-120 on eBay.
Is it worth $2300? I’d have to give it a hard, “no.” But I clean pools for a princess that pays me in bad games – so you do you. I would suggest checking out eStarland or Lukie Games over bid sites for collector’s series games like Silent Hill. There are a ton of gougers that will buy everything up just to raise prices even higher upon resell THUS continually driving up market prices for regular gamers like you and I. Dicks.
DESERT ISLAND SONG
The classic that can get anyone in the mood. Even if it’s for Origins:
Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients
10.) One blood stained trucker hat. (Silent Hill: Origins)