Girl in the Machine
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The Horror Heroine Effectiveness Scale, Part 5

(Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of the scale!)

How it works: For the next few weeks, I'll be serving up two rankings every Monday. Since this is a scale, we'll be going from number 10 -- the absolutely least effective Survival Horror heroine out there -- all the way to number 1 -- the greatest of the great.

2. Heather Mason

Appears In: Silent Hill 3 (PS2, 2003)
Horror Effectiveness: Otherworldly
Adept
Rationale: When I was seventeen years old, my biggest problem was studying for a big Trigonometry test. Typical high school issues don't even apply to Heather, who, in a single day, finds herself targeted by a crazy cult, trapped in the Otherworld, fishing keys out of a grilled dog, and finally returning home only to find that her father has been disemboweled by a bloodthirsty demon lurking on their apartment roof. You can't get much more life-shattering than that, and yet it's only the beginning: Heather willingly, and with conviction, travels to the hell on Earth that is Silent Hill to seek her revenge.

If you've been reading just about any of my articles on this blog, you know how much I adore Heather. Faced with unearthly horrors far beyond her age, she fights her way to freedom with the bravery of professionals like Jill Valentine and without the constant knee-quivering and pants-wetting of the Fatal Frame ladies. However, I also dislike cold, two-dimensional badassery as well: Heather is human, and I cannot extol enough praise for her near-breakdown when she discovers her father's gruesome fate.

What's more, Heather grows and changes throughout Silent Hill 3's story. When she's first caught up in the Otherworld, she's just a high school kid in an extraordinary situation who's trying to find her way back home. When she finds that Claudia has ordered the slaughter of her father, she's enraged and swears revenge, traveling to Silent Hill for the sole purpose of killing the cult priestess. However, when she discovers that she's actually an incarnation of Cheryl and regains her old memories, she feels pity for Claudia and overcomes her hatred, enabling her to defeat the sinister cult god just as her father did before her.

The Bottom Line: If you were squelching around the flesh-covered halls of a hellborn hospital with her, just remember not to answer the phone ringing in the locker. It's not your birthday.

1. Alex Roivas

Appears In: Eternal Darkness
(Gamecube, 2002)
Horror Effectiveness: Godslayer Extra- ordinaire
Rationale: You're called at three in the morning by the New Hampshire police about an accident with your grandfather. You fly out immediately without giving them a chance to tell you what's wrong. You go to the creepy Roivas mansion and find that Grandpappy's suffered a pretty messy decapitation, and you can only identify him by the family ring on his finger. You want answers, and you tell the deadbeat cops that you're not leaving the mansion until someone finds out what's going on.

You discover a secret study in the mansion. You find a bible-sized tome bound in human flesh. And you read it. You start seeing things. Horrible things. You know you're going crazy. And yet, you stay in that damn mansion because you're going to solve this mystery if it's the last thing you do.

Congratulations, you're super-badass Alex Roivas.

You have to be pretty damned effective in a horror situation if you know you're losing your mind and yet you willingly stick it out to the end. Alex squares off against bodysnatching abominations, Lovecraftian gods, and her own mounting insanity with only a flesh-bound book as her guide. As the player, you experience her hallucinations firsthand, and if the sight of your TV spontaneously turning itself off is even mildly unsettling, it's easy to imagine what Alex is going through. The skin-crawling tales that our intrepid heroine finds in the Tome of Eternal Darkness provide what I can comfortably call the most disquieting experience in Survival Horror history.

Admittedly, I had a tough time choosing between Heather and Alex for my number one spot. Alex completely deserves to top the list, however. She faces perhaps the biggest challenge out of every heroine on the scale, and endures constant freakouts while maintaining a courageous and steadfast attitude. Though she's joined by her ancestors in spirit, she's completely and utterly alone in the mansion . . . if you ignore the flesh-reaving crimes against all that is good and holy who lurk in the shadows waiting to feast on the delicious sweetbreads of mankind.

In the end, Alex proves her worth and more. If she's pitched in any horror situation after battling the head-exploding madness of Xel'lotath or the growly brute strength of Chattur'gha, you can bet that it'll be just as easy as stepping out for the newspaper on a lazy Saturday morning.

The Bottom Line: If you were creeping around the cursed halls of the family mansion with her, you'd best avoid the upstairs bathroom and stick close to her because THIS ISN'T -- REALLY -- HAPPENING --!!

Well, looks like that's all for our illustrious Horror Heroine Effectiveness Scale! Thanks for sticking with me all these weeks, and I hope you enjoyed my two cents about some of our best -- and worst -- ladies of Survival Horror. Please come on back, and I'll see you next Monday!

 Posted by BomberGirl
 8:08 PM + Link to this post
  1 comments

 
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Quick Hit: Casual Games for the Cure
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The Horror Heroine Effectiveness Scale, Part 4
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