Video Game: Michigan: Report From Hell
Michigan: Report from Hell
is a 2004 Survival Horror
video game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture for the PlayStation 2
. The player controls a cameraman of the Zaka TV news crew who are investigating the strange goings on in Chicago after it's covered by a mysterious fog along with sound engineer Jean-Philippe Brisco and one of six reporters.
The game is played from the first person perspective as the cameraman, rather than take actions himself, highlights
objects for the reporter to interact with, or enemies for her to shoot. If the reporter is killed, the game will skip to the next level where you meet with a new reporter.
This series provides examples of:
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: The reporters tend to be this way, putting themselves In Harm's Way to try and help others as well as searching for a story. Lampshaded by Brisco, who doesn't share either sentiment and would rather just get out of Chicago alive.
- Contrived Coincidence/Dangerously Genre Savvy: Some people note that the characters just seem so aware of their surroundings, to the point that, in a part where Justine, a woman you're trying to save, is shackled to a billiard table, everyone immediately comes to the conclusion that they have to put in missing billiard balls to help release Justine. Their course of action was correct.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Deborah.
- Depopulation Bomb: The spastic, mentally challenged man (who is *supposedly* the original carrier of the Gagne virus) is a biological weapon of mass destruction.
- Devil in Plain Sight: The Evil Ending's cameraman.
- Didn't Think This Through: During the tutorial, Brisco offers to let you practice ramming on him. He does realize that might not have been the best idea before you actually attempt it, but won't rescind the offer, instead asking that you just be careful.
- Downer Ending: No matter what ending you get, the protagonist dies via assassination (the only difference is his attitude toward the whole thing), leaving the entire thing unexplained and information undisclosed.
- Driven to Suicide: The owner of the hotel you stay in at one point, after an infectee guest mutated and killed his wife.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Brisco reacts this way if you save Justine from being crushed, as she rewards you with a kiss but snubs him.
- Eaten Alive: A frequent cause of death.
- Escort Mission: The whole game; the player character usually can't die himself, but must protect his reporter.
- The Faceless: The cameraman, until the end. Also used in one of the endings; specifically, the Evil Ending, where the cameraman's still covered in shadows.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Along with the bioengineered virus, there are also hints of aliens and ghosts.
- Foreshadowing: Brisco grows progressively more exhausted and irritable throughout the game, and mentions feeling dizzy and sick at several points. It seems innocuous, but guess what.
- Friendly Rival: Ann describes her relationship with Pamela this way.
- Game-Breaking Bug: The bonus movie mode unlocked after completion is actually broken and can't be viewed normally.
- Giant Spider: A glowing, Australian-sized one will jump on, bite, and kill the second reporter unless you knock her out of the way. If spotted early enough it will run off.
- Going for the Big Scoop
- He Knows Too Much: Leads to the cameraman's death.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Nina allows a monster to eat her so she can blow it up from inside and the cameraman and Brisco can escape.
- Ice Queen: Ann. Brisco can comment that she's got 'ice in her veins', due to how she's focused on Going for the Big Scoop.
- Idiot Ball: The characters are prone to stupid moments. Very prone.
- Immune to Bullets: Any monster bigger than a leech.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: All the reporters are armed; as long as the cameraman's focused on their target, they'll hit it every time.
- Intrepid Reporter
- Jump Scare: Appears in the Evil ending complete with forewarning Shmuck Bait: "Look closely... It's me. It's me, see?!"
- Justified Tutorial: Your cameraman is a rookie, so Brisco and Pamela take some time before the first shoot to help him practice.
- Karma Meter: Do you go for suspenseful footage, or erotic shots? A meter measures how far you move in either direction. If you choose to shove people around, let your reporter die or film strangers in mortal peril rather than trying to help, you also earn "Immoral Points", turning your meter from a simple gray bar to rusty barbed wire.
- Karmic Death: If the cameraman allows it, Ann can wind up being Eaten Alive shortly after complaining about how they didn't keep filming somebody else suffering the same fate.
- Kill 'em All: No one survives this experience.
- Laughing Mad: Brisco goes into this during the secret photo shoot.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Faced with a zombifying boyfriend, Carly opts for the odd tactic of embracing him instead of shooting him point-blank. Scratch one reporter.
- Male Gaze: Similar to Dead Rising, you can earn Erotic Points from recording areas of interest.
- Manipulative Bitch: Deborah. At one point, your reporter and Brisco go into her office furious and mistrustful, about to make her account for sending innocent reporters to a a hellhole like Chicago, but a few chosen words later, and they're both (if not entirely on her side) at least following her orders to continue investigating. Brisco thinks she may have a Compelling Voice, but neither he or the reporters are overly bright, so it seems unlikely.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The game implies it's genetic tampering causing the monsters, but you see several signs of the supernatural, as well.
- Mega Corp.: It's not exactly clear what the ZaKa corporation does, officially, but at the least, they have their fingers in bioengineering and entertainment.
- Multiple Endings: Besides the normal S, I, and E endings, you also get a special ending if your Immorality points are insanely high. But the protagonist dies in all of them, when he's about to reveal what happened.
- Mockumentary: A playable variant.
- Monster Misogyny: The monsters will only attack the female reporters, ignoring the cameraman and sound technician.
- When you get the male reporter Mark, though, the monsters go for him too.
- Ms. Fanservice: The reporters, aside from Mark.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: Brisco laments this after Pamela's death.
- Nothing Is Scarier: A lot of the horror part of the game comes from the fact that there's mostly nothing there.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Paula appears to be an idiot, but the secret videos indicate that there may a lot more to her than there seems. (Note that the "Mysterious Man" mentioned on the page is pretty clearly her.)
- Ominous Fog: Which is actually what Pamela's been sent to report on when the game starts.
- Patient Zero: The final boss.
- Quick Time Event: The cameraman can choose at certain points to put the camera down and help someone, or ignore the cue and keep rolling.
- Ramming Always Works: It's your camera guy's primary way of fighting back or taking action, since he usually can't put the camera down.
- Say My Name: Brisco's usual reaction to a reporter's death is to scream their name several times, stretching it out the last time.
- Schrödinger's Player Character: The identity of the cameraman actually changes depending on how you play.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Snowy Screen of Death: Appears quite often, cutting in and out to justify short 'jumps' in the footage.
- Snub by Omission: Before each level, the name of your news reporter and sound engineer are listed. The nameless cameraman doesn't get any credit.
- Although this is a log being written by the cameraman, so he probably doesn't see the need to list his own name.
- The Stinger: Which is where the Multiple Endings come into play.
- Synthetic Plague: Gagne is an experimental bioweapon that was developed in a consortium by the ZaKa Conglomerate, the U.S. Government, and the U.S. Military.
- This Loser Is You/You Bastard: Used for The Reveal of the cameraman's identity, which changes based on your actions. Focus on Erotic Shots, for instance, and they turn out to be a sniveling, creepy nerd who asks the viewer if they enjoyed his special footage.
- Timed Mission: The player has until his film runs out to complete each level, but since they are usually given just over 30 minutes per level, it's rarely an issue.
- Too Dumb to Live: Certain characters go by B-Movie logic, so...
- Tragic Monster: Pamela's fate.
- The Un-Reveal: The cameraman is shot before he can disclose who's behind everything,
- Ungrateful Bastard: If you save Ann from her potential Karmic Death, she promptly starts chewing Brisco and the cameraman out again for not shooting more footage.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: While in the nursing home, neither Brisco or your reporter care to comment on the room full of bloody handprints. Brisco does react to the child's specter inside, but decides he's seeing things.
- Vagina Dentata: A prominent monster type appears to be this, although some of the corpses it's attached to are male.
- Videogame Cruelty Potential: Choosing to film someone's gruesome death instead of acting to prevent it. Even worse, you can actually use your ramming technique to knock people into danger.
- Villain Protagonist: Earn so many Immoral points that they vastly outweigh the others, and the cameraman claims he's the one behind everything.
- The Virus
- Vocal Evolution: Inverted, the voice acting gets worse over time.
- What the Hell, Hero?: If the cameraman chooses to keep filming instead of acting to save somebody, Brisco will usually call him on it. Inverted by Ann, who chews him out for not keeping the camera running.
- Zombie Infectee: Brisco at the end. Also implied to be what happens to the cameraman in the Evil ending.