Sunday, October 29, 2023

Resident Evil: Hunter Hunted

It's weird playing this game. The whole having to replay sections hoping to get it right bit is something I normally hate, yet, with this game I find myself enjoying it almost. Something about this game's setup makes it just that much more attainable than in a lot of other optimize everything perfectly kind of games, perhaps because there's just enough leeway to be reasonable.

Left room is the one where the dogs disappeared, the middle one is the one I cleared out.
As I walk out of the guardhouse, I hear a beeping sound, so I check my inventory, it's the radio. Brad Vickers, the pilot, says "I know you can't hear me"...before it's cut off. Apparently the radio doesn't have a respond function. There are no dogs in this room now, although there are in the next room/waterfall area and next to the mansion. I take out the dogs in the next room, to save myself the trouble. After doing this I return to the item box to drop off the blue herbs I previously ignored, bringing my total up to 5, one more green herb, and to exchange the pistol for the shotgun.

Because the hunters have arrived. When you come back in through the interior door, and walk out into the hallway, you get a lovely little cutscene of something coming into the mansion. Then you see it there, and oh, look, Jill has turned to face it. Meaning you're practically guaranteed to get hit once before you make it to the locked door you now have the key for. That's a vital room too, it has magnum rounds, and a book containing an eagle medal.

But, hunters. Hunters drop any pretense the game has about being fair. They're strong, requiring about 5 shotgun shells to kill, fast, have an instant kill attack and appear in all the areas where there were zombies. It doesn't matter if you killed them or not, now the area is filled with these super deadly creatures. You can dodge them very carefully like the dogs, they can't turn when they attack, so it's simply getting the timing down so you move out of the way as they attack. I cannot afford to burn through shotgun shells this early, so I need to figure this crap out. Barry leaves a note and some ammo (shells, acid grenades and a first aid spray) in the save room on this side of the mansion. How he managed to get past the hunters, especially the hunters here, is an interesting question.

The hunter downstairs is in the little center section of the room, just next to the stairs, but quickly walks towards the door in the narrow hall. Upstairs, there are two hunters placed where the zombies were, and the only reason I made it past them ever was because they wanted to puke on me rather than bite me. Hunters are also much wider than zombies. It occurs to me to try to the pistol on the upstairs ones, by seeing if the method I tried with the zombies would work with these. If you don't remember, I tried to take advantage of the fact that the upstairs room consists of two floors, one in which you can't be attacked. It turns out that, yes, it does work, the zombies were just too thin for me to deal with. I also figure out that the shotgun is really short ranged or really weak, it took about 8 pistol shots to take out one hunter.

Deciding to further test this, I bring out the knife to try to kill the hunter I ran past. I completely forgot I need to kill him anyway. And it took me about three knife shots. So there's considerable variation in the amount of damage they can take, because earlier when I tried my hand at knifing zombies, it took about as many stabs as bullets. I kind of already knew this, but that's some extreme variation. Dodging them seems simple enough in a small area, wait for it to charge at you, then run past him at such an angle that he can't turn to you in time. You can even dodge without much room, just move go around in circles, then, at the right time, go straight. It's figuring out when to do these that's the troublesome part. Part of the key to this is figuring out that they're left-handed.

Meaning, go left. In some areas this is foolproof. In a wide open space where to attack the hunter starts running around in a circle to reach you, you can get in safe hits with the knife. In a small corridor, it doesn't matter, run past him on the left. There's a method to starting off a fight with a hunter so you get him clawing at air, but I don't quite get it just yet. Corridors are all about positioning, some place the hunter in a location that you can't easily get past, others do.

I'm mostly going to stick to moving through the second floor. I've already cleared out the northeastern hallway. The eastern hallway has one hunter, one I can easily dodge going to the center of the mansion, and isn't too hard coming back. I checked the area south again, there's a magazine and some shells which don't seem to be there before, in Yawn's room, but no hunter. The unentered room on the east is the second Yawn boss fight, the one you actually have to fight. I'm waiting til I've used the helmet key on the other doors, so I can have that thrown away afterwards. The central hall, as always, is clear.

The western side is very annoying. There are two hunters on the second floor dining hall, and these are some of the ones you can't easily just run past. I'm just going to have to take a hit there or get lucky. Killing one would be too time consuming and dangerous. North of him is one hunter, easy enough to get past coming from the south, but he's right in the north hall, where my key is and where I'll need to go later. He's going to have to die, and I'm going to have to use some shotgun ammo.

Looking back at this map, I basically already cleared out the sections that count.

First floor. The staircase in the north-northeast is where the save room is and basically the only safe part of the first floor. One room south is the way out, there's a hunter there, but I can run past him and then it's all good. I'm not bothering to kill him because the hallway east is very tight and has a hunter. And I need to clear out a lot of area, since the southeastern hallway now has spiders. Assuming that I can just run past them, it's just easier to ignore three areas I don't need to go through in favor of one. I don't need to clear out every hallway, just enough to ensure I can move relatively safely.

The unentered areas on the east vary. The one seemingly unentered part of the southern room is where the zombie and the ink ribbon was. At this point, I'm just going to gamble that I'm not going to need it. The room northwest of that is that weird bar room, now without zombies and with no hunter. I found shotgun shells there, which was a nice find. East of that is where the crawling zombie was, now with the easiest hunter to take down in melee combat. I don't have the key to that door. The opening hallway is still clear of enemies.

West is where things get tricky. The dining hall is still good, but north there are two hunters. And they're placed in such a way that makes fighting suicidal. I can run past them easily if I'm quick on the draw, but there's a door to an elevator down I don't have the key for, and I'm worried the game expects me to go through that at some point. The northern most hallway has at least one hunter, only the one, because I'm writing off the herbs next to it and the hallway west. I got past him once without getting hit, but it seems more like luck than skill. The western hallway there is of course, where there were three zombies I didn't deal with at all, only this time they're all hunters. The old trick of just rushing past them on the stairs to the save room is still true with them.

I think this is the first time I've seen the decapitation attack land.
I put my plan into action, starting from the northeastern part of the second floor. Through the hunter to south, for the magazine and shells, then to the central hallway, downstairs to get that shotgun ammo I missed earlier. I take a perhaps unnecessary trip to return the clip to the ammo box. I have nearly as many bullets as I did when I was usually running around the mansion. Both times the hunter was no problem. I figure out the trick to the upstairs dining hall, I was trying to get past the northern half, but because of the layout, the southern half was easier and the northern hunter couldn't reach me in time. Only now I got killed because the hunter north of there kept jumping around like a maniac. Sigh...guess camping out the door is the best option.
This room actually tries to make finding the item seem like a puzzle.

Somehow fighting these things with a shotgun seems more deadly than just trying to knife them to death. The jumping attack is easy enough to dodge, but creates a very annoying fight if you're using a shotgun, since now it's next to you. This time around I just decide to use the key on the nearest door first, so I can toss it sooner and thus ensure I don't need to return to an item box. The room here is a trophy room, with more magnum ammo and another set of shells. That brings my total of the later to 65, combined with the ammo in the shotgun. Hopefully more than enough to last me through the rest of the game. There's also a puzzle here, there's a set of stairs you can move around, seemingly to check the deer head and other objects. But there's nothing there. Turn out the light, and a gem shines in the darkness. It's amusing, the room with the lights out resembles the remake.

There's also a note, which reveals that the events happening here were planned, not accidental. The security chief is supposed to lure STARS here to obtain battle data how how the BOWs operate in combat; obtain two embryoes of all creatures except for the "Tyrant"; Destroy the lab in a manner seeming accidental. I go back through the upstairs dining hall, getting hit by the hunter because he's the one hunter in this section who's right handed. I then walk back through the eastern hallway, and only after making it past the hunter to safety, I realize I forgot about the magnum.

This guy does quite the dramatic little jumping out from behind cover, which doesn't work in image form.

Rushing past the hunters, as usual.

The magnum is nice-looking, but I like how overdramatic the game makes the ammo look. It's just .357 magnum, dude.

Using the red jewel on the statue gets me the magnum. I could use this now, but this is going to come in real handy later, so we'll just put this away as soon as I can. Escaping this area proves to be as easy now as it was the first time. Guess this hunter was just put in a poor location. Right, save, and now time to take out Yawn. I'll be bringing the grenade launcher and the acid rounds for this one. Only 18 shots, but as per usual, if I need more I'm screwed anyway.

I see the snake has developed a serious skin problem.
The room is empty, so you walk all the way over to a piano, using it, and then Yawn activates by smashing into the area in front of the piano. Yawn is easy assuming you get out of your starting position. I didn't take any more damage than I expected I would, and he only took 6 grenades. I wasn't expecting that. There's no items or anything, your path forward now is through the hole that Yawn made.
You sure came late.

Text appears that indicates it's too dark to see, which would mean a puzzle, only Barry comes in. He says Jill should go down by herself, he has rope. This is apparently not a veiled threat, because Jill is enthusiastic about going down using the rope. Isn't this supposed to be badly translated Japanese? Why are they abusing the word rope like this? Jill goes down, and Barry drops the rope. He says he'll find another and runs off. This leaves Jill in an area that just so conveniently opens just under where the snake smashed into. In an event that the player isn't quite sure would actually happen, because developers seem to expect players will always do the opposite of what they should do, wait long enough and Barry comes back.

Barry apologizes, and Jill asks if he's okay. He's fine, and gives Jill the passcode, to the door on the western side. Haha. This makes the hole in the floor seem pointless. Back to the west.

Ah, almost like the gameplay 2 hours ago.

I don't like the sound that happens when you enter this area. It's a zombie getting eaten by another zombie. Fortunately, I can quickly grab the pistol from downstairs. I'm keeping the grenade launcher on me for now, there's only one enemy I really need to use the launcher on, and he's optional. I'm gonna wager the last stretch can be dealt with more via the shotgun. For now, just saving my more powerful ammo by killing the last zombies with my pistol. After the hunters, this all feels like the game taking it easy on you for a moment. Two packages of grenades, magnum ammo, herbs and an ink ribbon. I'm starting to feel like the game is just going to let me win at this point, even if I have to carry all this stuff back in two trips. I also start finding key items, the battery, something called a MO disk, which is apparently a real thing. That last thing is found by solving a puzzle where you push a statue. Someone at Capcom was real happy they could do that.

There's also a scrapbook of the attacks leading up to STARS getting called in. Including, I kid ye not, an article saying that these dog monsters found in the mountains, well, stay away if you're smart, but if you're adventurous, go after it. I wasn't expecting to laugh at an actual joke. And I finally get something of my technical objective, a helipad, or, the way out. Nevermind that if I wanted to leave through the front door now, dogs or no dogs, I have enough ammo to take down a horde. That leaves that area, but I have an elevator down, to the basement.

This must be the game's equivalent to the one scene in a horror film goes for the biggest goreshot it can.
No zombies straight off, but just at the corner I see what appears to be a corpse. I slowly approach, thinking, hey, it must activate later. So I run past him, and get bit. It was worth it though, just a tiny sliver of health and one dead zombie. This is the basement and the kitchen. The music, I should note this is the original version, not the later PSX versions, is incredibly overdramatic. Is something bad going to happen? No idea, but the water and gas "is not supplied", which probably makes sense in Japanese, but should probably be "there is none". The whole room hasn't been touched in a long time. I carefully make my way over to the north side of the room, which is obscured by camera angles, I slowly walk towards a door when a cutscene starts.

Something slowly comes towards a door. Presumably the same door I'm on the other side of. A hand reaches out, it opens...and when I regain control it's just a zombie. Lame. The stairs up is next to where the elevator was on the first floor, making this discovery useless to me. Just go through the southern door now, back in the kitchen, and it's locked from the other side. I guess that's what the hole is for. Back all the way to where I killed Yawn, and I find a grave with a switch on it. This moves the grave, revealing a ladder down. There are zombies here, but it's not really a problem when you know you're not really going to need the pistol after this. Shotgun shells, which is always a plus.

Some real thinking going on here.
The next hallway has some eating sounds, always a tell-tale sign that something bad is going to happen. Past a couple of blind corners and then...two zombies eating safely away in a corner. And this hallway only leads back into the kitchen. So...I came this way for some shotgun shells.

That's it for the mansion. I didn't quite mean to make this session just about the return trip to the mansion, but I and hopefully you, have learned something quite valuable about this part of the game. Next time, we finally see what that waterfall is hiding.

This Session: 3 hours 30 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes

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