1320: The Scars of Hell – OneshotPosted: February 4, 2016
Title: The Scars of Hell
Author: The Viking Penguin
Media: Video Game
Topic: Until Dawn
URL: The Scars of Hell
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck
Hello ladies and gentlefolk, and welcome to the last of our oneshots before we dive back into Fire Emblem: ReAwaken! I’m your host Herr Wozzeck, and this oneshot is actually going to be incredibly short. When I ported it to Word, it barely passed one page.
But, if you know us by now, patrons, it’s that you know we pore over everything. And this story…
Well, let’s get started.
So for those of you wondering what the hell Until Dawn is… Well, I like to describe it as “Heavy Rain, if it had been made as a horror movie”. It’s an interactive drama that operates on the “branching pathways” mechanic (that the game constantly makes a big deal of, actually), and if you all read my Beyond: Two Souls snarking last week, y’all should know I’m all about that shit.
So what’s the story? Well, the story is rather simple: it concerns a group of eight teenagers that go up to an isolated cabin in the woods. Sound clichéd? Well… yeah, it kind of is, though the game doesn’t really try to hide that fact. Anyway, as with all clichéd horror plots, this one comes with a hook: this group of teenagers are all coming to the lodge a year after the disappearance of two girls at that site. And thus, as these teenagers get down and dirty doing the typical cliché horror routines, typical cliché horror things start to happen. People are stalked around by creatures in the woods, a maniac shows up, Jigsaw traps spring up, and they also come across both an abandoned mine and an asylum.
Okay, so maybe that last thing isn’t that typical of a cliché horror film. But that’s a credit to the game: it plays a lot with genre conventions, and does something interesting with it. Like most interactive dramas, character interactions are determined entirely by the players, who cycle through all eight characters at various points throughout the game: the trick is, it plays those so you can kind of see different sides of the characters, and it kind of makes them interesting. It also kind of throws every cliché it can in there (to give you an idea of how much it throws in there: it starts as a hybrid of an 80’s slasher and a Saw movie, and then it turns into a creature feature about 2/3rds of the way through), and it also subverts a few genre conventions. Of course, that all depends on how you play the game.
If I’m being intentionally vague… yeah, it’s because of that. Until Dawn, similar to Heavy Rain, can actually be played in a way where you get to kill all eight of the game’s characters. Conversely, you can save all eight of them too. And thus, logically you can also get everything in between. So before I can get into too much detail on the plot of the game, I need to know what the fanfic considers the game’s ending.
So without any further ado, let’s go and start this fic…
Hey guys and gals fancy meeting you here. Now before we get to the story i want you to either watch a playthrough of play the game until dawn if you haven’t already.
Well, this is certainly a sign of things to come, isn’t it? We haven’t even hit the story proper, and already this story is grammatically fucked. I mean, what the hell is that jumble of words, and why are none of the proper nouns capitalized?
Warning this is a very sad and depressing story so if you don’t want to cry DO NOT ;I can’t stress this enough, read.
Oh, believe me, this story will be very sad and depressing. It’s going to be sad because we’ll lament the capacity of humans to be shit enough at writing to produce this crap, and it’s going to be depressing because people might actually like it.
also shout out to everyone in Paris and Colorado. Be safe out there
And why is this random shout-out to those two bits of violence in this world warranted? Because as far as I’m concerned, this doesn’t really matter as relates to the story. I get wanting to show you support victims and their families and all that, but honey, there are other platforms that you can do that on. Like, I dunno, Facebook? Twitter? In this story that has nothing at all to do with those, it’s got no place.
Now on with the story.
Yes, please. Where do we start?
Tick Tock Tick Tock. ‘The damn clock won’t shut up’ Chris thought to himself
Alright, we have our first character, but not our scenario, or the sense of time where—
*ducks under the desk*
It had been three years ago today that he learned what was truly up on the mountain; since Josh died. It had almost been 2 years ago that sam Sam died “What are you thinking about?” asked Dr. Prof. Viking Penguin. One of the most requested physiatrists in the country . Chris had to pay at least $1,000 for one week. But after only 2 sessions with him the good doctor let chris come in for free. “Sam, Josh and Ashley” replied Chris. “You seem to be thinking about Sam a lot lately. Why?” asked Dr. Prof. Penguin. “I could have stopped it from happening I could have saved her” said Chris “How?” challanged .Penguin “She not only had PTSDbut lost her friend a year before she died there was nothing any one especally m-” almost as soon as these words (almost )left his mouth Dr. Prof. Penguin realized that Chris hadn’t known the whole truth about Sam
*pokes his head out from under the rubble*
Holy fuck, I haven’t seen a wall of text that big in a while. Especially given the length of the fic. Like, this fic is less than 500 words long, and most of them are in that paragraph. Oh, and by the way, it also has a bunch of problems. Spelling errors, lack of hitting the space bar, multiple lines of dialogue said by different characters in the same paragraph…
But that’s all here and there.
So let’s try and break this monster down to see what the hell is going on.
It had been three years ago today that he learned what was truly up on the mountain; since Josh died.
Okay, so this is set after the events of the game, and Chris is a survivor.
Right. Roll out the SC-Style Infodump!
By the glasses, you can probably tell what cliché he seeks to fulfill: the socially awkward nerd. He’s got a crush on one of the other characters, he’s a smart guy, he wears glasses, and is generally nerdy.
Of course, this is subverted in a couple of ways: first of all, he’s a crazy good shot with a gun. He’s also fairly brave, as he actually does some of the bravest things in the game (and yes, that’s even despite what the game tells you about the quality of some of his actions, too). Second, depending on how you play the game, you can either get him together with his crush, or… well, I’ll talk about that later. That, and there’s another thing that goes down with the nerd’s best friend Josh. That in itself is its own craziness, but to make a long story short: it’s pretty bad for Chris’ mental health after the events of the game.
Anyway, Chris is the nerd. Let’s move on to…
It had almost been 2 years ago that sam Sam died
And Sam is also a survivor here, given she died a year after the events of the game. Okay, so that means we can talk about our next character!
If you’re wondering what cliché she fits under? Well, the closest you’d find is the one girl who always seems to survive 80’s slasher flicks. She’s resourceful, friendly, strong, intelligent… all that jazz.
However, there is one way it can be played with: depending on some choices you make, you can get Sam captured by the villain that the game has while it’s still an 80’s slasher. Of course, she still gets out of that tiff, but it’s with a little help (and you miss out on some vital world-building cues that you can find throughout the game). But yeah, other than that, there isn’t that much to Sam’s character, especially given that she spends half the game in a goddamn hot tub (no joke!) and only really gets active at around the point where most everyone else has already seen enough shit to traumatize them for life.
And in this fic, she was one of the survivors, so it’d be reasonable to assume there were likely other survivors as well. But let’s get to them when we get to them. After all, we have to introduce ourselves to…
“What are you thinking about?” asked Dr. Prof. Viking Penguin.
…Doctor AuthorInsert McStupidName.
You know, author, we’ve seen many, many author inserts through these halls. It would take me years to name all of them, but we’ve had them all. And yet right here, right now, I’ve seen the most obvious author-insert of them all. I mean, fuck’s sake, you didn’t even try to hide this, did you? I mean, you literally named the character after your username!
And aside from the obviousness of the author insert… why!? What’s the point of basing this character off of yourself? I mean, good Lord, at least in a self-insert the point is clear: guy gets pulled in to experience the events of the game, for good and for ill! Here? There’s literally no fucking point to it! It’s just “hey, this guy is me, watch him do stuff”! It’s not cute, and it’s not clever: it’s pointless, and incredibly stupid!
And mind you, that’s before we even touch the fact that “Viking Penguin” is an unbelievably stupid name for a human being. Like, it’s not even the guy’s pseudonym, that’s his actual name.
Oh dear God, what does this fic say about this character?
One of the most requested physiatrists in the country. Chris had to pay at least $1,000 for one week. But after only 2 sessions with him the good doctor let chris come in for free.
Wow. I’m not even a psychologist, and I feel dumber for having read this. God, let’s hope Fraug never reads those three sentences, he’d have an epic conniption to end all epic conniptions!
Okay, to begin with… let’s ignore that the game is technically set in goddamn Canada, where paying such a bill is likely a non-issue given their healthcare laws (and especially considering there has been no attempt to establish where this office is located). Instead, let’s just go to the size of that bill. I mean, what psychiatrist worth their salt charges $1000 per session? I mean, you are aware that psychiatrists are the ones who frequently prescribe medication and shit, right? So in addition to the cost of the drugs, Chris would have to pay a thousand fucking dollars for one session! What kind of job does he have that he can afford a thousand-plus dollars a week? Unless he somehow became a hedge fund manager between the events of the game and now, I call bullshit.
And then that ends up not even mattering anyway, given that every session after the second one is free. Um, what? First of all, what conceivable reason would this doctor have for waiving the fee for every other session Chris has? I don’t care how interesting Chris is as a patient, that shit doesn’t happen! I mean, a guy’s gotta eat, you know! Second, that strikes me as a terrible business practice, charging a thousand dollars a session and then not charging people after the second session. If he does this to all his clients, how is he still surviving?
And this fucker is “one of the most requested psychiatrists in the country”? Pssh, yeah right. If his complete lack of business savvy is any indication, I wouldn’t trust him to treat a pet hamster.
Well, folks, this is a first: it took this guy took four sentences to reveal himself as a masturbatory stand-in for our author. I didn’t even think that was possible! I just… this is a new milestone in epic fail, ladies and gentlemen.
And again, it begs the question: why!? There’s no point to it! This guy could’ve just been any old psychiatrist OC, and instead the author decided “hey, let’s make myself a psychiatrist, that’ll be awesome!” I just…
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*
Let’s move on before my head explodes from the stupidity, yeah?
“Sam, Josh and Ashley” replied Chris. “You seem to be thinking about Sam a lot lately. Why?” asked Dr. Prof. Penguin.
I don’t know, because Sam is apparently dead, and Sam and Chris went through a traumatizing event together? That could be a reason why.
“I could have stopped it from happening I could have saved her” said Chris
Much like you could’ve saved the comma from being omitted from this story, right? But hey, proper grammar? What’s that?
“How?” challanged .Penguin “She not only had PTSDbut lost her friend a year before she died there was nothing any one especally m-” almost as soon as these words (almost )left his mouth Dr. Prof. Penguin realized that Chris hadn’t known the whole truth about Sam
Wait, so was that Doctor AuthorInsert McStupidName who said that line about PTSD, or was that Chris? Because with the shit attribution caused by the fact that you forgot to create a new paragraph whenever a different character was speaking, that line about Sam having PTSD could’ve been said by Chris.
And really, what’s so shocking about Sam having PTSD? I mean, um… did you see the events of the game, author? In the credits scene that plays if Sam survives, it’s pretty clear from Hayden Panettiere’s performance that, despite what she’s telling the police interviewers, she’s not completely fine. So yeah, it’d be expected that she’s going through PTSD episodes.
So why is this shocking to Chris?
“How long” asked Chris in a low and dangerous voice “How long had she been coming to see you.”
Oh, apparently it was because he didn’t know that Doctor AuthorInsert McStupidName saw Sam before she died.
Um, how the hell did you not know Sam was seeing a psychiatrist before she died, Chris? Like, I’m pretty sure that would just bring you all closer together, that you all went through a very horrible night and all that jazz! Even if you don’t mention everything, you’d think someone in that circle of friends would’ve told Sam to see a psychiatrist if she was having it really rough, and especially that they’d inform the others of that too!
I wish I could say Chris’ feelings of betrayal are verified, but the fact is that his lack of knowledge that Sam saw a psychiatrist is ludicrous enough that it kind of nullifies his rage here! I mean, how did you not know this?
“About a month before she died” replied Dr. Prof Penguin
“AND YOU DIDN’T HELP” exploded Chris “I TRIED” screamed Dr. Prof. Penguin “but she was too far gone to help”
Our “most sought after psychiatrist in the country”, ladies and gentlemen: screaming at patients that potentially have PTSD while being all “she was too far gone to help”. That may be true, but you do not tell that to a patient with potentially volatile feelings about that subject.
I mean, seriously, author, you’re aware that psychology is a much more delicate field than you’re portraying here, right? It can take a very long time to build trust with a patient while trying to also keep that distance to make sure they evaluate what’s going on and how best to help them come to terms with their patients! And that trust? That trust is very easily shattered if they say the wrong thing, and that can lead to problems. Maybe it won’t lead to terrible problems in Chris’ case, but if you have a more serious case like, say, someone with suicidal depression or something like that? Yeah. No. You don’t do that, no matter how convenient it is for the sake of “drama”.
That’s something your stupid little author insert apparently forgot to learn when he was busy getting his fucking Ph.D. in this field. “Most sought after psychiatrist in the country”, indeed.
(And in before you say otherwise: Peter Stormare’s character in the game doesn’t count as a real psychologist, because he’s a representation of one of the characters’ guilt, and therefore he’s not fucking real.)
Chris deflated at these words. After what seemed like a decade Chris collected his jacket and left Dr. Prof Penguin did nothing to stop him.
Good, I’d rather not see AuthorInsert McStupidName any longer than I want to.
When he left the building he pulled out his phone and called his very pregnant girlfriend Ashley.
And Ashley is now in this fic. Time for SC-style infodump number three!
Ashley is the amateur investigator of the group, and also the subject of Chris’s in-game crush. So if you’re wondering what stereotype she fits under… well, she’s basically the Velma of the group. Inquisitive, rather smart, but she is a little easily freaked out.
However, the player can also play Ashley in one of two very different ways. Why? Well… That requires me to get a bit into the disappearance of the two girls that happened.
Okay, so a year before the events of the game happen, the game’s protagonists all went up to the same place to just chill and party and stuff. Of course, they were joined by the two girls who disappeared (Hanna and Beth). While they were there, two of the protagonists had the idea of pranking Hanna, and the spirit of the prank was a little mean-spirited. (It’s nothing compared to something one of the other characters unleashes as a result, but one thing at a time.) Of course, when the prank is revealed, Hanna rushes out feeling like crap. Beth (who is Hanna’s twin sister) ran out after her, and… well, they never returned.
So yeah. The events of the game are triggered by a prank gone awry.
The reason this is important… well, it’s all in who participated in the prank. Sam was the only one of the protagonists who tried to actively stop the prank from going through, and Chris was passed out drunk while the prank was going on. Ashley, however, participated in the prank. Thus, in interactions with the other characters, Ashley can either be apologetic about her role in the prank, or she can just be like “bitch couldn’t take a joke”.
And that second part is what can turn off a lot of people to Ashley as a character: depending on choices you make as Chris and then another character, Ashley can be a bit of a vindictive bitch, arguably without reason.
See, at one point in the game’s story, Chris and Ashley are locked in a Saw-style trap with buzzsaws sawing away above them. Chris is directed to pick up a gun on a table between them and shoot either himself or Ashley. The gun is loaded with blanks, though, so of course neither of them are in serious trouble.
Should you choose to have Chris shoot Ashley, though… Well, this happens:
So the only way for Chris to survive is for him not to turn the gun on her. Hence, why the fact that they’re boyfriend and girlfriend isn’t that surprising, given that the flip side (where Chris either shoots himself or chooses not to shoot the gun at all) involves this:
Further considering that Chris’ only other potential death in this game can be tied to Ashley’s first potential death, yeah. I can actually see this happening.
So yeah, long story short: Ashley is Velma, if Velma was more capable of being vindictive.
Anyway, let’s continue, yeah?
After the second ring she picked up and in her most flirtatious voice said “Hello” (it’s me. Sorry the damn song is stuck in my head)
You better be goddamn sorry, author! Seriously, do you not know that mid-chapter author’s notes are a big no-no in writing? Come on! And to make a completely out of place Adele reference, too! Seriously, I don’t care if the song is stuck in your head, the damn song isn’t relevant to the story!
“Hey” said Chris.
“What’s wrong baby” asked Ashley
“” It’s about Sam”
And that’s it. Of course, before we can leave off…
Welp that’s that. Sorry for the depressing topic but I think it’s way past due and I’m happy It came out the way ir did no matter how sad.
The only depressing thing about this fanfic is how completely you failed at getting across a depressing atmosphere. Seriously, you had Chris bitch at an author insert, who then shouted back at him, before Chris was all “yeah, Ash, Sam saw this guy before she died”. I’m sorry, where’s the depressing content? Oh, right, it probably got lost in the stupidity of everything else, from the fridge logic involved with the set-up to the fact that the psychiatrist is the most blatant author insert I’ve ever seen here…
In the meantime read some of my other stories and as tribute to the 123 people who lost their lives in Paris Au revoir.
So apparently, saying a simple French phrase counts as a tribute to the people who died in the Paris terror attacks.
*hands out Alma to the audience*
So who wants to beat it into this author’s head that one simple phrase of gratuitous French that people use literally all the time is not enough to honor a bunch of victims of a horrifying terrorist attack? Anyone?
Anyhow, that does it for this oneshot. There we go: three oneshots in canons not yet snarked in the Library.
And next week, it’s back to Fire Emblem: ReAwaken. Buckle in, folks: I’ve got the feeling it’s about to get crazier from there.