Episode 146: “Super-Scary Sequel”
Timecode: 0:14: The long world premiere trailer for Silent Hill 4 The Room (Konami, multiplatform, 2004). This was the Silent Hill game with the shortest downtime between releases, a little over a year after Silent Hill 3.
The game was about Henry Townshend, a very private young man who becomes inexplicably trapped inside of his apartment, Room 302, of South Ashfield Heights. He had already been trapped two weeks prior to the start of the game. One day, he received a strange phone call from some woman whose voice he didn't recognize, and then, he found a strange hole in his bathroom wall big enough for him to climb through. That was the beginning of his journeys in the alternate world that threatened to swallow him whole.
The trailer for this game was moody, and had a very strange sequence where it appeared that blood was moving on its own on those paper sheets used for target practice in gun ranges. The song “Room of Angel” played in the early part of the trailer, then transitions to “The Last Mariachi” (later used for the game's title screen). It showed a radio through which “Room of Angel” was seemingly playing, then cut away to play a news report:
- And now, the news. Yesterday, in Ashfield, in the woods near Silent Hill, the bodies of five apparent murder victims and a sixth, severely wounded female were found. The woman was immediately rushed to St. Jerome's Hospital, but died a short time later of her injuries. She has been identi—
The radio was cut off. The next scene showed another man, not Henry, sitting in Room 302, listening to something on his headphones. In live action, the man was shown writing something on his left hand, in some unidentifiable language. There was also writing on his right hand, which couldn't have been easy to do.
From there, the trailer assaulted the viewer with freaky images of some of the game's monsters and levels. All in all, it was a pretty effective trailer. Someone on this wiki said that it was a good deal more terrifying than the game itself. But it was also a very weird trailer, because of its artful presentation and brief but noticeable switches to live action footage, unlike any other scenes in the games that I know of.
What was with the news report over the radio? Well, I think it was actually a spoiler for one of the bad endings. The woman must have been Eileen Galvin, the sweet young lady who was Henry's next-door neighbor. The other victims were other characters that Henry met over the course of the game, but Eileen is the only one who he has even a chance of saving.
SH4 may have been a little underwhelming compared to the other games, even some of the later ones not made by Team Silent, but I always liked it, and it's spawned some of the best SH fanfiction I've ever read. Still, I kind of wonder What Could Have Been if the game wasn't forced to be another SH game instead of its own game, simply called The Room. That title would have been kind of funny due to a certain movie called The Room that would come out later and gain an ironic fandom because of its unintentional humor and general weirdness.
One gross scene featured at the end of the trailer but not in the game was the guy who wrote all over his hands seemingly being born from the ceiling of Room 302, with really gross sound effects to boot. Several copies of him are also “born”, and appear to be trying to drag him back through the hole.
9:04: Another trailer that I loved, this time for Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (PS 2, 2004). It was dramatic, compelling, and beautiful, despite the... unusual names from fictitious countries (Yuktobania?). I've never been interested in playing Ace Combat, but this trailer drew me right in. It had an epic quality and can still get to me.
19:40: Yet another epic trailer, this time for Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits Von Gut Und Bose (PS 2, 2005), the second entry in Monolith Soft's attempt at an epic RPG series. Unfortunately, the gorgeous trailer didn't translate to the overall quality of the game, and as a result, the next chapter was the series' last (the original plan was to span six installments). At the time, the more realistic characters looked pretty good, but in hindsight, were creepily out of place with the anime-styled designs in parts one and three. Episode III reverted back to the anime-style designs.
The trailer featured in this ep is the short version. This is the long version, the one I like the most.
Reader Participation: What game trailers blew you away? Which ones didn't, but the game turned out to be one you liked anyway?