8.13.2010

How to Fix Silent Hill: Angela Orosco

Secret leaked title screen from the newest Silent Hill game, "Silent Hill 8." Naw, I'm just yanking your chain, I drew this in MS Paint. Or could you tell?

So real quick I want to go over why the "8" in Silent Hill 8 makes no sense. There are only SIX main games, there is ONE legitimate spin off, TWO "phone games" that are actually kinda neat, but video games don't go on phones, so they don't even count as spin offs, then there is the Silent Hill Play Novel, which I don't know what that counts as, and lastly there is homecoming, which is unplayable, not an actual Silent Hill game let alone a spin-off (it takes place in a different town, by the way), and even if it did count it had the working title of "Silent Hill V," which is 5. 0rigins came out before homecoming, making it the fifth game, so even if we could number homecoming it would be woefully out of place. On top of that, the sixth game is a sequel to the bad ending of the first Silent Hill while being simultaneously a "reimagining" of it. It's one of the main games, but calling it Silent Hill 6 is like calling Return of Godzilla by the name Godzilla 16. It's technically correct, but don't ever fucking say that outloud where real people can hear you.

The good thing is of course that SH8 is merely a working title, and it will most likely release with some vapid and pretentious sounding sub-title that has nothing to do with the actual game.

Here, I wanted to write about the next logical game in the series that should be made, but for some reason what I assumed was obvious to everyone else was less apparent than making a game about some jailbird no one gives a shit about. I learned to stop being humble in high school, but I still like to think that other people can generally have ideas as well, especially the really obvious ones. Not the case. Looks like I'm the genius.

Well since I'm the most talented person in the room (which is rather frightening considering the MS Paint drawings I did for this post), I might as well fill you in on what should be happening.

Quick question: In  most fandoms, where the fanbase shares similar interests (hence the fandom existing in the first place), there is usually a broad consensus of opinions on what constitutes "the best." It is often heretical to suggest otherwise. For example: G-fans unanimously agree the first Godzilla is the best, and most agree that Godzilla vs. Mothra, GMK, DAM, and Godzilla vs. Biollante are among the highest ranked. Godzilla's Revenge is usually considered the worst, but that opinion is being changed in current times. Among Alien fans, the first and second films are considered superior to the rest, and the 6th one, AVPR, is considered the worst. Fun fact: my favorite has always been Alien 3, since the first one bores me and the second treats the monsters with too much disrespect. So what do Silent Hill fans consider the absolute masterpiece of the series?

Silent Hill 2. It's just the best one. Ask any fan, it's always SH2. This is followed by 1 and 3 (not in that order, just in general), then usually 4, and finally 0rigins, which is hard on many fans because they are really snooty assholes that have a hard time admiting the Silent Hill formula is not only extremely easy to perpetuate indefinately, but the "soulless americans" actually made a better game than Team Silent did. Twice. In a row. And it's better than two of the original four. I don't know what the fanbase at large thinks about Shattered Memories, because after the american games came out the fans have become unapproachable assholes to the umpteenth degree, and I don't really associate well with people like that. Go on Silent Hill Heaven's forum for five minutes and you'll see what I'm talking about. Those people are monsters.

So if SH2 is the best, why the hell does the first game and the religious version of the otherworld get so much damn attention? Granted, SH3 and SHSM were both warranted and all, but where is the damn Angel... whoops, I was going to build that up more.

Whatever. Here's the thing: we need to see Angela and Eddie's adventures. It so fucking obvious and I've never even heard anyone bring it up before. We know how they moved through the town when they were there, we know what their choice of endings would be, we know what their otherworlds looked like, christ, we even know what monsters they fought! But most of this is stuff we haven't seen, and with characters as wonderful as Eddie and Angela, the desire to play through as them is huge. So what roadblock was put up that keeps Konami from figuring this out?

And that's just the easy one. There's tons of shit already waiting to be elaborated on. Remember SH4 being based off memos from 2 and 3? And the arcade game was the same thing, but with the little baroness? There are so many stories litering the town of personal greif and loss that it's just insane to ignore. SH8's protagonist has nothing to do with the inmates of Toluca Prison, it takes place in modern times and his bus only crashes in Silent Hill, it isn't a destination. But damn, wouldn't you kill to play as the wrongfully hanged man from that puzzle in the labyrinth? He was hanged anyways, so right there that's one ending, but maybe there's another where, after confronting some manifestation of his being unsure who the villain really is, the real criminal who framed him gets killed by Pyramid Head (or whatever iteration he might exist in), and our hero is pardoned.

If you just bother to look, you can keep this up for decades without writing any new material. The games write themselves, I'm telling you.

So now I want to go over what the Angela/Eddie game would be like. I want to start with Angela, because she's my favorite non-monster character in the entire game. Heck, she's almost better Pyramid Head.

Just thinking about this scene gives me goosebumps.

Angela has been sexually abused since childhood. At the time of SH2 she's 19 years old. After graduating high school, she runs away from home, but is found by her father who tries to bring her back. Angela stabs him dead. Her brother too. Plus, her mom said she deserved it. Fuck James and fuck Eddie, this is the girl with the real problems. In the real world, these are the kind of non-religious people whose worlds really do look like the otherworld. No one character quite encapsulates Silent Hill like Angela does, nor does it look like any new character will. Hence, all the elements needed to make a full-length game for her are already well apparent in SH2, and no extra stuff needs to be done.

For level progression, her prologue involves her running away to the cemetary and transitioning from the otherworld to the fog world, which is novel, and illustrates that she has been living in her own hell for a long, long time, and isn't just now coming into it. She'll have to meet a monster that isn't so obvious before getting to the cemetary in order to establish that there is something "wrong" with the town. Then she meets James.

For the fog world, there is no real reason not to keep it as the "mist world" it was for James, but I think removing plastic sheets in favor of gaping holes or blankets might serve Angela better. Mist is a good theme, as is the water that permeated every instance of James' worlds, since we can connect this back to rape victims taking a shower in order clean themselves metaphorically. Right away we get a real life behavior caused specifically by mental trauma, so the otherworld writes itself, like I said.

She ends up at the apartment more or less the same time as James. Her route there should most likely have her follow back to her apartment, because 1) revenge is sweet, but killing another human is hard to do, the combined effects should put Angela in the same place as James in that her memory becomes a little skewed 2) she should develop a positive image of her mother, so we can yank the rug out or redeem depending on the ending, as well as establish a reason to live, and 3) becuase she didn't take the knife with her, and common sense says you should hide the murder weapon. So to the apartments will be backtracking, only this time through the "shower" world instead of the "rape" world. Yes, I'm going to call it the rape world for the rest of the article.

Angela's monsters can be modified from the SH2 cast, as many of them already have sexual themes. Not only does this allow us to keep the lying figure (one of my favorite monsters) and turn it into a bondage monster (you can never have too many of those), but we finally get another Mannequin which, surprise surprise, is ALSO one of my favorite SH monsters. Creepers should probably stay, due to them being seen as a common thread as well as there association with filth. Actually, they should be really fucking common.

So Teddy Bear monster? I vote yes, but don't don't fight it until later. If you just yank out an evil teddy bear at Wood Side, it's not going to work. There needs to be a build up where the teddy bear becomes one very significant stuffed animal that Angela viewed as a security item, and as the game goes on, we reveal how as the abuse kept happening she felt betrayed by the bear until it became just as bad as her father, fully turning it into a very upset little girl's personal demon. THEN we make her fight it. Also, it goes without saying the bear should have little circular drops of blood on the crotch and a ripped open stomach.

We don't see Angela again until the Labyrinth, and she has no earthly reason to be in a hospital, so we need a new place for her to run to after fighting a boss. You could make the teddy bear the apartment boss, but that might be too soon. Another good idea is to have an "Abstract Brother" monster that, in the real world, is actually her brother. This is when she kills him. Actually, that's much better than the teddy bear, and it propels her forward by putting her on the run.

The most logical place for her to go is to school. Angela DID graduate from high school, so we've got to figure there were many times when she tried to tell someone what was happening. For whatever reason, be that no one believed her or maybe the principal raped her too, high school never really was the sanctuary it should have been. The moment she realizes this, via a note in the principal's or school nurses office directly stating the faculty ignored her, is when the otherworld kicks in. From now until the hotel she will be in the rape world, where flesh and pistons are much more prominent than flames (but of course, for her, there is always fire). New enemies in the school might be larval stalker or mumbler types, only larger because they are high school aged. We can expect to see countless memos about how her depressing effects her grades, gets her in trouble with the admins, she maybe runs with the Goth kids for a while, and maybe even a wild party where a fellow student attempts to take advantage of her. Once again, this writes itself. As the high school reflects on her as no longer being a naive child, the teddy bear boss would fit here. Later it becomes a common enemy.


The abstract daddy shouldn't look exactly the same. Don't forget that in this scene James knows what happened to Angela, and uses imagery from his head involving smothering Mary to conjure up the two writhing figures on a bed. That's important for James, because it ties into his guilt, and we see Abstract Daddies in the hotel later. For Angela, the monster probably just looks like her father... but larger, more monstrous, and with prominent knife wounds.

Angela doesn't have to go into the SHHS to get to the labyrinth, and in fact it wouldn't make sense if she did. The sewers are the first thing that come to mind. They'll fit in nicely with the piston imagery, her constantly running and hiding, and I've never seen a flaming sewer before, but I don't guess it would be very inviting. Here there are going to be recurring monsters, especially teddy bears, visibly-in-a-straight-jacket figures, creepers (giant creepers... JEEPERS creepers), new mannequins (maybe call 'em "pretty toys" or something?) but now is the absolute latest we can introduce the phallic worms. I think this would be perfect, because if we use the classic "giant sewers" video game trope, we can make the penis monsters fucking enormous, which is sure to make everyone who plays the game extremely uncomfortable. It's a wierd thing about western audiences that monsterizing feminine or female atrobutes is acceptable and down right wanted, but phallic monsters really tend to creep people out. Myself included. Hence, there's no better imagery to use for Angela than a giant, growling penis monster. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this shit just writes itself.

The sewer will be mercifully short, because Angela is going to retreat further and further into herself. She's been in the rape world since she realized no one in the world was ever sympathetic to her, and her depression will spiral out of control, losing grip on reality all together and ending up in the labyrinth, which is much larger, longer, and all around mazelike than James' ever was. The newspapered walls that James sees outside of Angela's boss room are his delusion, his mind's way of telling him to wake up after just assuming Angela was fine. As stated above, her Abstract Daddy wont be all that abstract, otherwise, the rest of the room will be the same, and that'll be the look of the whole damn maze. The fire replaces the water from James' maze, being a painfully overt metaphor for hell. Whats worse, shes going to have to navigate down there in order to solve puzzles. The fires will eat away at your life down to 1HP, but will never kill you. The message here is you have to kill yourself, because otherwise the pain isn't going to stop. Also, this will drain your health drinks down to nothing, making the suicide ending a chore to avoid. We expect Angela to die, though, so it's natural to work to keep her alive if you want a different ending.

No we come to a problem: in SH2, James, not Angela, kills the Abstract Daddy. This can be handled two ways: 1) we let James do all the work in a cut scene, and avoid the boss fight altogether, or 2) ignore James' perception, since they're both crazy anyways, and have the normal boss fight, only have James deliver the final blow. I favor the last one because it establishes how the events of the game are entirely subjective and only occur in the protagonist's heads, and it also makes Angela's suspiscion of James more justified if the player only sees him come in at the last minute. After the fight, Angela (who realized earlier that her mom was not on her side) decides to seek out her mother to finish her revenge plot once and for all. Even if you get the suicide ending, Angela has got to stop running. This triggers the transition back to the shower world, and Angela climbs out of the sewers to find she is all the way on the other side of the lake (I hate the Toluca Lake sequence).

What her connection is to the hotel isn't entirely clear, but we know from SH2 that now she is looking for her mom again, and this is after we realize her mother was not on her side. She could be just wandering blindly, and thats not unheard of in Silent Hill games, but I really want there to be a reason. So, let's say that either initially, wrongfully, or actually, Angela's mom was sympathetic to a point where they may have gone as far as getting a divorce. If not that, Angela and her mom could have at least stayed at the hotel for a few nights away from Thomas and her brother. We start to make Mrs. Orosco into a good guy again and try to give Angela something to live for. If we have to have a new enemy, let's use a smaller version of Abstract Brother.

Memos left around the hotel give conflicting viewpoints about her mother's role in Angela's abuse. The turning point back into the rape world will be a home video her dad made. This would be an emotional high point on its own, but Angela finds the tape in her mother's camcorder.

When James sees Angela on the flaming staircase, she has only just arrived. The player wont see james at first, but will walk down the stairs towards a glowing white robed figure. At the bottom, the flames burn away at the image and reveals James, who, and I want to stress this, LOOKS LIKE SHIT. His clothes are damp and torn, he's got blood all over him from the townspeople he slaughtered, his eyes are sunken and bloodshot, he's been crying for hours, and he has a gun trained on Angela, who doesn't seem to notice.

It's important for Angela to see James beaten, because throughout their adventures, James has been the only one with a somewhat hopeful outlook. Everytime Angela meets James, he tries to keep her from killing herself. He takes away her knife, he kills a boss monster, and he tries to console her after realizing what she's been through. In short, he's tried to be the good guy the whole time. In this scene in SH2, Angela asks for her knife back, and this time she's going to get it too, and there's got to be one last nail in the coffin. If you'll remember, the entire reason Angela appears at this point in the original SH2 is to sap James' will to live. That should be mirrored for Angela. When she see the hero defeated and without the person he'd been looking for the whole time, she realizes the whole thing is a joke, and turns back up the stairs, which are burning as she climbs higher...

...and higher, and higher, and higher, and higher until she reaches paradise. Remember, in games where religious wackos manifest the otherworld, it is refered to as paradise, being the lands where God dwells. Angela becomes surrounded by a sea of fire and then finally, nothingness. Here she confronts her mother at last, and from here on out which ending you get comes into affect.

I figure there are at least four endings, suicide, murder, mama, and UFO, of course. The suicide is obvious, and her mother will fulfill the "you deserved it" nonsense, and after fighting the boss monster (the mom, obviously), we'll get to see that the monster actually kills Angela, then summons the dad and brother to eat her corpse. She commited suicide before meeting James in this ending.

The murder ending is similar in that she was dead the entire time, but here her mother admits that she was bullied into letting it happen. In fact, Thomas tracked them down to the hotel and dragged them back home. In this ending, Angela gets her revenge on the beaten mother monster, who dies screaming "I'm sorry, I never wanted to hurt you." When we zoom out to the real world, the mom finally grew some balls when the dad, and this is important, RAPED ANGELA TO DEATH. That, it turns out, got the cops involved. Mrs. Orosco is heartbroken, of course, but her and her son (who, it turns out, isn't a bad guy after all and was still at least beaten by his drunk dad) are able to move on with their lives, making Angela into a martyr.

In the mama ending, the mother is only an illusion, representing her anger that her mother wasn't able to help her. She never endorsed the violence, but again, she was not able to stop it. With the monster defeated, Angela manages to shake her delusions and return to the real world. She really did kill her father (but probably not her brother), but her mom finds her at the hotel in time, and the two run away together and start a new life. It might be better to have her acquited and then go on with her life, but either way she lives on with her actually good mother.

In the one true, canon ending, her mother reveals that she is a space monster and Angela is half alien. Rather than come up with an excuse to fight the monster, the two fly away on a UFO and live a happy life with the rest of the aliens as well as Harry, James, Eddie, Eric, Tina, Travis, Mira, and the captain of the little baroness.

It writes itself, but I really enjoyed getting that off my chest. Oh, and for completeness sake, the name of her mom is Martha, and her brother is Jason. Just so they have names.

I'm gonna stop here for right now, but expect Eddie's outline and my third, original idea to pop up soon.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9/6/11 10:53

    I would seriously buy this game. I WANT to buy this game. Why hasn't Konami made this?

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  2. Anonymous30/3/13 02:04

    On the note of endings, I believe the 'hardest' ending to get should be a "Moving on" sort of ending, where Angela decides to leave with James, I don't mean in a romantic or even a platonic way, but the idea of finding a companion in the pain just seems fitting, when both of them are stunted emotionally. Also, in all the endings you've listed, none of them seem to involve Angela getting over the pain, hell, the 'Mama' boss still would probably attack, probably even stronger, as when there are dark thoughts, fears and memories in your head, they're at their strongest at the precipice of moving past them.

    Another note, the idea that the fire starts in the sewers at it's peak seems weird to me, as Angela said it was always there, the thought I had would be the fire builds up and peaks in the hotel climax where Angela has her choice to leave or stay.

    Regardless, I'd still buy this game, because Angela's story is one of the most heart-wrenching things, because even as the player screams (mentally, hopefully) for Angela not to kill herself, that they'd help her, and save her, she always gives up.

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  3. Those are all really good ideas.

    Kinda makes me wish I got my shit together a little better and posted my outline for an Eddie Dombrowski game before I forgot pretty much everything about it. I remember I wanted there to be a zombie version of Mira, and it ended up being the dog he killed. Something like that.

    But yeah, I started with Angela in this post for just that reason, because there's so much going on with that character and I wanna see more of that. It almost steals the show from James.

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