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Video Game / Michigan: Report From Hell

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Abandon voice acting, all ye who enter here.

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 Chicagonote  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:

  • Action Girl: All of the reporters are armed and will shoot at any monsters the team come across. Nina actually brags about killing a bear at one point and sacrifices herself to save the cameraman and Brisco.
  • All for Nothing: In every ending but High Immoral, the cameraman gets assassinated right before he can reveal those behind the virus. And the tapes reveal that ZaKa were executing any reporters who discovered their involvement in the outbreak.
  • Alliterative Name: The second reporter, Ann Anderson.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing the game in certain ways unlocks alternate outfits for Brisco and various reporters.
  • Anyone Can Die: And you can let them.
  • Apocalyptic Log: What the recordings can end up being if you die. Not to mention you die at the end anyway.
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  • Artistic License – Biology
  • Artistic License – Geography: There is a level that takes place in a camping lodge on the mountains somewhere in Chicago. While it is a big city, the nearest mountain range to Chicago is a few hundred miles away, in the east parts of Ohio and Kentucky (and even there, it's a stretch).
  • Asshole Victim: If you let them be, Ann, Paula, and Debora. Ann is far more interested in reporting about the death and destruction caused by the virus, Debora forces her news team to stay in Chicago despite the dangers, and Paula is secretly murdering any reporter who know too much about the virus.
  • Author Appeal: The game's producer/designer Suda51, publisher Spike Chunsoft, and Suda's developer studio Grasshopper Manufacture, were previously known for the internationally popular Fire Pro Wrestling series. Every single character in-game is named after a pro wrestler.
  • Bat Deduction: Justine, a woman you're trying to save, is shackled to a billiard table, and everyone comes to the conclusion that they have to put in missing billiard balls to help release Justine; the characters have no reference for this conclusion besides a picture displaying a full pool triangle, but it turns out to be correct.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Dr. O'Conner, the developer of the Gagne virus, who is stated to be in cahoots with ZaKa Corporation's chief Debora Flair and military general Roy Sanders.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Inverted, Brisco's the last person you see die in the game. Technically second to last if you count the cameraman.
  • Body Horror: Courtesy of the Gagne Virus. Anyone infected with the virus will initially vomit leeches and have their veins mutate, before potentially becoming giant hunks of monstrous flesh.
  • 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.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Debora, who is not only suggested to be one of the people behind the virus outbreak, but has no qualms in having her reporters film during the outbreak of a deadly virus destroying Chicago, despite losing two of them.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The 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 High Immoral ending's cameraman, who will claim to be behind the virus.
  • 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 either dies via assassination (the only difference is his attitude toward the whole thing) or reveals himself to be a villain, 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, as shown by the first victim and Pamela.
  • 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 High Immoral ending, where the cameraman's still covered in shadows.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Two are seen in-game - The player has to save Justine from being crushed by one, and another is used to kill a monster in a church.
  • 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.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The bonus movie mode unlocked after completion is actually broken and can't be viewed normally in the PAL European version. You can only access them in the original Japanese version of the game.
  • Giant Spider: A glowing, Australian-sized spider will jump on, bite, and kill Ann unless you knock her out of the way. If spotted early enough it will run off.
  • Going for the Big Scoop
  • Guide Dang It!: Trying to keep your reporters alive through every level is hard to pull off unless you've played the game before, or are using a guide. For example, Ann can die because of a Giant Spider biting her unless you tag the spider or push her out of the way, and Carly will choose to commit suicide if you find her boyfriend hiding in the locker before he transforms into a monster. The fact that you can leave without checking the locker might not even register for the player since every other time you try to leave a room, Brisco and/or your reporter will not allow you to leave.
    • Trying to find all the events that award Suspense, Erotic and/or Immoral Points? Good luck finding out where they are or even what points you will earn. Specially the ones that involve special conditions like "reporter steps on this tile and you have 10 seconds to look through a window and find a UFO" or "open door but don't leave the room, you must turn around and explore to find a ghost".
  • He Knows Too Much: Leads to the cameraman's death in all but one ending.
    • Also applies to the people killed in the secret tapes.
  • 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, such as the ones encountered at the Center Building, the nursing home, and the train station, and Dr O'Connor. These often require finding objects to kill them with.
    • The only exception to this rule is the giant insect monster from the Miller mansion, which is killed with a shotgun.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: All the reporters are armed; as long as the cameraman's focused on their target, they'll hit it every time. This includes situations where the player/cameraman is in front of their targets but is never hurt or killed in the crossfire.
  • Intrepid Reporter: The game revolves around the team investigating a mysterious fog and viral outbreak plague, alongside shooting dead monsters and uncovering the underlying plot.
  • Jump Scare: Appears in the High Immoral 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. However it isn't actually a meter mechanics-wise as the ending you get depends on whichever type of point you've accumulated the most of throughout the game and the point counts do not affect each other.
  • 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.
    • Also if the cameraman allows it, Debora can be killed by the mutated Pamela, one of the reporters she deliberately placed in danger.
  • 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 Bastard: Debora. 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.
    • To name a few: Shadow figures, creepy dissapearing dolls, child shaped silhouettes, floating books, a floating pillow, a floating cooking pot...
  • 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 three 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 Brisco.
    • When you get the male reporter Mark, though, the monsters go for him too. Maybe they just really, really hate reporters?
    • The only times a monster will attack and be able to kill the player is in the Miller mansion, the boss fight against O'Conner and a monster in the motel if you choose to sleep in a certain room.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The reporters, aside from Mark.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Brisco laments this after Pamela's death.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Contrary to the title, the game actually takes place entirely in Chicago, Illinois and not the state of Michigan. The title actually refers to Lake Michigan, which Chicago is situated on.
  • 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: George Gagne, the final boss. His death causes the fog to disappear.
  • Press X to Not Die: 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: Ramming is 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: In all endings besides High Immoral, the protagonist is assassinated before he can state who was behind the virus.
  • Shout-Out: Every character's last name and even the name of the virus (Gagne) is the surname of a famous professional wrestler. All name pairings are stated on this game's trivia page.
  • 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.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The subtitles keep switching between O'Connor and O'Conner.
  • The Stinger: Which is where the Multiple Endings come into play.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Gagne virus 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: 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...
    • During the tutorial, Pamela stops running away from the monster to chew out the cameraman, despite Brisco freaking out about said monster being behind her.
    • While fetching a bottle of water for Brisco, Ann will fail to notice a giant spider above her head. Failing to ram her away will cause her to be killed.
  • Tragic Monster: Pamela's corpse ends up becoming one of the monsters the team deals with on two occasions.
  • The Unreveal: 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.
    • Also applies to every other paranormal stuff you can find in the game. If Brisco and/or your reporter are with you, they will never make any comment about the weird stuff they just witnessed.
  • Vagina Dentata: A prominent monster type appears to be this, such as Pamela, although some of the corpses it's attached to are male.
  • Video Game 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.
    • You can let your reporters die if you choose to avoid helping them when they're in danger, or even by refusing to tag any of the monsters attacking them. You can even film their deaths and earn Immoral Points!
  • 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: The Gagne Virus, an experimental bioweapon developed by the government and Za Ka Corporation that is behind the various monsters and mutations seen.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Your reporter will always give up right outside the lighthouse, choosing to wait outside while you and Brisco check out the inside. That is the last time you see them.
  • 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. The cameraman will also receive this reaction to taking erotic shots.
  • Zombie Infectee: Pamela and Robbie during the storyline, and Brisco at the end. Also implied to be what happens to the cameraman in the High Immoral ending.