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Friday Frivolity: Soundless Mountain II

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Drawn to one another by some otherworldly force, the relationship between Pyramid Head (the "punisher") and James (the "victim") has no doubt inspired discussion, analysis, and fan fiction of the most dreadful sort. Silent Hill has always prided itself on tackling adult subject matter, yet nothing in its canon compares to the beautiful, almost poetic depiction of "alternative" relationships. In this case, I of course refer to sadomasochism. Granted, James's status of "hapless, first-rate gimp" might strike one as inherently abusive, but such bother ignores the reality of BDSM culture. Despite Pyramid Head's rather "forward" method of courtship (link nsfw), he and James share an intimate bond: one based not on a kind of cartoonish, one-sided cruelty, but an understanding that however "sick" Pyramid Head's punishments may seem, they spring forth from his inherent, psycho-carnal desire to bring pleasure to an eager partner.

Unfortunately, this is not the focus of Soundless Mountain II. Despite the name's suggestion that this would be some kind of Brokeback Mountain-style, "a love that dare not speak its name" story set in Mistress Torment's Pleasure Dungeon, SM2 is a NES-style version of Silent Hill 2. Incidentally, it's a startlingly elaborate one. Much of the music, sound effects, and environments have been downgraded to the 8-bit era to great effect, complimented by gameplay that is, while rather slow (walking, in particular, is a bit of a bore), quite solid. The game features some familiar Silent Hill fare - an overlay of fog, a broken radio, and of course, stomping one's enemies with due prejudice - while retaining the old-school feel of the NES era. While the controls are simple, the game does fail to note (for those who are planning to give SM2 a whirl) that down+Z must be used to deliver that final, fatal blow.

As a closing thought, I've had the occasional tryst with the "modern" 8-bit tramp. Despite finding the whole trend rather cute, yours truly is on a personal jihad against "demakes," and other such nostalgic bother; in about a month and a half, they will have officially eclipsed zombies as "most annoyingly-overused theme in video games for people that simply cannot be bothered to think up new ideas." That being said, for every 42.5 lazy, 8-bit atrocities, there's one that actually comes across with the charm they all so desperately try to convey. Such is the case with SM2. While rather slow - Silent Hill proper has never really favored frantic, combat-heavy gameplay - the game is commendable, if for nothing other than the sheer amount of effort that went into its creation.

The game is available for both PC and Mac, so for those who have enjoyed the Silent Hill series, and perhaps even for those whose budding loathing for all things "retro" shall be burned into the very fabric of space-time, check out Soundless Mountain II at this link!

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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