Feature

Badass Bosses: Pyramid Head

Silent Hill 2’s pointy-hatted baddie Pyramid Head has become renowned among gamers as not only one of the most memorable creatures in videogame history, but also one of the most fearsome. After all, what sane person wouldn’t find a blood-stained bloke carrying a whopping great butcher’s knife (who occasionally indulges in a spot of monster molestation) anything but disturbing? Point made, I think you’ll agree. Still, I just feel sorry for protagonist James Sunderland; as if slogging through a creature-infested, reality-shifting town wasn’t bad enough, being stalked by this inexorably nemesis certainly encompasses a whole new meaning of being up crap creek without a paddle. Still, let’s not kid ourselves here. We love Pyramid Head, which is precisely why he’s the focus of our latest Badass Bosses feature.

Waffling on about Silent Hill’s convoluted yet immensely compelling back-story would take more time than I can spare right now, but suffice to say, Pyramid Head is a different breed of enemy. Conjured up by the series’ eponymous, fog-bound town as a means of punishing Sunderland, this relentless foe takes on the form of Silent Hill’s notorious prison executioners of old, right down to the iconic clobber. Pyramid Head pops up at numerous, often crucial intervals throughout the game, and similar to RE3’s Nemesis, he isn’t always a mandatory opponent. However, he’s a formidable enemy regardless of the circumstances in which you encounter him, and even brings along a twin for the final battle with Sunderland in the burnt-out remains of the Lakeview Hotel. How’s that for customer service?

Though slow and lumbering, Pyramid Head isn’t to be underestimated. His exorbitantly-sized knife has a meaty range and can kill you in one, nasty overhead chop if given the chance. Failing that, he’ll skewer you with a spear if he happens to be carrying one, or choke you to death in close proximity. Oh, and he’s pretty much indestructible. Fortunately, there’s a way of seeing him off in both boss battles, or avoiding him when he’s on the prowl in the depths of the Labyrinth. Keeping your distance is the key to any encounter with the silent stalker, so don’t attempt to get up close and personal at any time; you’ll pay with your life otherwise, and fast. Indeed, this is true of your first scrap, which takes place in the narrow confines of the Blue Creep Apartment stairwell.

Sunderland essentially has to keep on his toes, avoiding attacks wherever possible while unloading pistol rounds into the Pyramid Head’s pointy hat. You’ll know you’ve made your mark with a metallic thump resounding through your eardrums. Sooner or later the monster-raping nutter will have enough of playing cat and mouse, and, at the beaconing of a blaring siren, will wonder off down the stairs, out of sight. Case closed. Later on, you’ll cross paths in the depths of the Historical Society labyrinth, where the creature will be patrolling one of the dank, dark water-logged tunnels and later, a suspended platform. Don’t even think about fighting him this time around—there’s no way to see him off. Shooting at him may slow him down, but only for a few seconds, so it’s not worth the hassle; just leg it as fast as you can, and don’t look back.

Your final encounter has Sunderland squaring off with two of the buggers, each armed with spears. Again, it’s a case of employing some fancy footwork and keeping out of the reach of their weapons while getting off the odd shot here and there. While the Shotgun and Hunting Rifle inflict more damage, the pistol might be a better companion for some of the fight since it not only allows you to move and shoot simultaneously, but has far less recoil. Or if you fancy living dangerous, give them a taste of their own medicine by smacking them about with the Great Knife you acquired in the Labyrinth—nothing like a bit of payback, eh? Still, if you employ this method of attack, don’t expect to walk away unscathed. Lugging the massive weapon about slows you down something terrible, and leaves you highly susceptible to counterattack. Regardless of your preferred method, the end result is the same; both Pyramid Heads decide they’ve had enough, and kindly impale themselves on their own spears. Thanks chaps.

While showing up in Silent Hill Arcade, the 2006 movie and Homecoming, Pyramid Head’s impact was never quite the same. Rather than being woven cohesively into the core narrative, his appearance—especially in Arcade and the movie—were akin to that of a pop-up rubber monster on a horror theme park ride, big and scary to look at, but little else. As such, his golden days will forever be confined to the haunted halls and foggy streets of Silent Hill 2—and frankly, that’s hardly a bad thing.

Look out for more Badass Bosses here at PSU in the coming weeks.