Posted on March 31, 2017
[h] Hotline Miami
It’s nice outside this time of year.
The city is alive with sound and movement, everyone is up and about, and you can tell something is up in the air. You hear people at the video store just down the street, getting all fired up about some thing or other they’re looking at through the shop window.
You can smell what kind of pizza is getting whipped up next door; the aroma permeates everything and sticks to the nostrils in this heat.
Makes ya wonder why we are always cooped up in here, watching TV, feeding the dogs, almost obsessively cleaning our bathroom, kitchen, and gun racks, all the while wearing these blasted suits. I’d say Boss Man got a little paranoid lately.
But who could blame him, what with his previous crew having been sliced up by some random biker dude a few months back. We’ve all heard the stories…
My name is… well, it doesn’t really matter what my parents named me anymore.
Even for these guys, the ones lying around me right now, names didn’t matter. I called them Bud, or Bub, or Buddy, or anything else that’s concise, non-descriptive, and starts with a B. Somewhat like our bland and brittle lives.
But the point is, we were all buddies. Misunderstood maybe, but we could rely on each other to keep the dogs fed, the kitchen clean, and our boss safe.
Who am I kidding?
I knew all of their names. Their hobbies. Sometimes even their secrets. You try not to care in this too fast too furious kind of world. You really try. But after counting so many flying bullets and bits of people… you get to know the person whose back you’re watching.
Like Louie over there, slumped against the doorframe, with a baseball bat sticking out of what’s left of his cranium. A huge fan of the Hurricanes, he probably would have appreciated the irony.
Right behind him lies his cousin Zdenek, adopted of course, and at this moment partially obscured by the door. A few moments ago he was still leaning against the wall behind it, rubbing his knobbly face where the door hit him in full force. Now it seems there isn’t much face left to rub.
I liked Pete the most though. Big guy, big mouth, big heart. Metaphorically speaking of course, as I can now tell he has a pretty standard-shaped heart, just dangling there, inside that gaping hole that used to be his torso.
Blood’s still squirting out of him in short bursts, almost rhythmically to the – by now pretty numbing – beat that’s been pumping through our heads since right before all hell broke loose.
It happened so fast.
We’ve all heard the stories… but it’s a whole ‘nother thing when you ‘live’ through it. Heh.
It began with a growl downstairs. I think it was Spike. Feisty bastard, but with eyes any dog lover would die for.
We thought nothing of it.
But we could hear the beat. Feel it even.
Eyes swivelled towards the space between Louie and Zdenek. They were posted on both sides of the door. They looked at each other, looked at the door.
It happened so, so fast.
The door swings open. No, that doesn’t do it right. It explodes open, strangely enough, without disintegrating. I can feel the shockwave, 20 feet away. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for my buddies.
Louie goes down like a brick, Zdenek smashes against the wall. In comes a monster, a tornado of death and mutilation. Down comes the bat, up go Louie’s brains.
In one fluid movement the killer turns around, rips Zdenek’s gun from its holster, and blows away his face. By that time Pete was already coming in behind him, finger on the trigger of his trusty shotgun, milliseconds away from putting an end to this slaughter.
The monster knows what’s going to happen. It’s like he planned every step of the way. It’s like he has done this a hundred times, and knows exactly how and when we’re going to react.
Zdenek loosened a few bricks after smashing against the wall. One of those bricks is now in the monster’s right hand. And then it isn’t.
Pete stumbles, hands clenched around his forehead. The shotgun drops, but doesn’t reach the floor, as it gets snatched up mid-air, given a 180° spin, and its contents released against the previous owner.
Akira storms into the room from the kitchen. He screams, and is swinging his katana. He brought a sword to a gunfight. Stupid kid.
Derek comes in right behind him. At least he’s strapping a rifle. Pretty well armed for a midnight snack, but you don’t hear me complaining.
The shotgun is used again. Akira stops screaming. Stupid kid.
Good kid. That was the monster’s last shell. We won. Or did we?
Time slows down to a near-halt.
The guy’s wearing a mask. At least I assume it’s a guy. No woman I know could be this mental, this vicious. He’s wearing a thick sports jacket, so you can’t make out any features. And the mask… what is it? A chicken? A horse? It changes shape every time I blink. Or maybe I just don’t want to believe what I’m seeing.
Everything is blurry. The only thing that’s clear are his eyes.
Bloodshot. Cruelly smart, sharp as knives, equally emotionless, slicing through your soul.
He’s looking at me. He’s goddamn looking straight at me, while Akira’s guts are strewn all over the place.
He doesn’t avert his eyes, not even when, in slow motion, I see him pull back the gun, arc it behind his back, and fling it at ridiculous speed and precision towards Derek’s groin. I can almost make out little sparkles behind it, like an asteroid burning through the atmosphere.
Poor Derek. I can only stare at him, lying there, agonizing. He tries to crawl, out of harm’s way. The monster isn’t fazed.
He picks up Akira’s katana, starts walking towards me, pauses for only a few split seconds to kneel down and casually push Derek’s eyeballs through its sockets, and finally stops his stroll right in front of me.
I’m still holding today’s newspaper, unfolded, in both hands. I was reading it intently only 10 seconds ago.
I have a gun. I realize I’ve had it this whole time.
I also realize I’m in shock. It doesn’t matter though. Nothing matters.
The newspaper falls to the ground, in two halves. My chest feels warm. Funny, because I’m pretty sure steel should feel cold.
Maybe that’s because it’s nice outside this time of year.
Life ain’t fair.
Hotline Miami ain’t fair.
This score ain’t fair.
Hotline Miami was released in October, 2012 and is – by now – playable on PC, Mac, PS3, PS Vita, Linux, PS4, and Android.
Big ups and downs to... Hotline Miami, by Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital