Level 19: Frozen River – Listening for Multiple Sounds
by Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo
There is no music, just the wind howling as the level starts. “Outside the trail continues through snow (the sound of footsteps walking in deep snow). Frozen rivers. The ice is noisy (the sound of a footstep on ice and a crack emerging). Release the chickens to attract the hogs, so you can cross the ice.” At first, I’m not sure how to approach this level. I walk forward through the snow for two steps, somehow feeling colder as it wasn’t very long ago since I was doing the same thing in real life. At this moment I realize how incredible are the sound effects in this game. I hear the chickens clucking just ahead of me, and the beeping of the musical note to my right, which instead of sounding like a BRASS drum, sounds again like a sanza note, I mentioned in this post. I realize that this level will require an even more sophisticated ear, because I will have to keep track of not only where the chickens are, but must also recall and keep track of where the beeping musical note is, so that I can reach it before the snuffle hogs are done feasting. There are so many different elements of listening that I am picking up from this game. As I move towards the chickens and the sound of their clucking increases while the beeping of the musical note diminishes, I try to keep a mental map of where I heard the song and how I will have to spin the wheel to be facing the note. I reach the chicken cage and hear the sound of the hatch opening. As the hogs race in, I panic, unable to hear the music note above the sound of the melee and begin to wander, slipping and falling on ice several times and eventually running right into a snuffle hog. The guide exclaims, “Crash, bang, snuffled…again!”
When I am reincarnated, I do the same thing I did last time, only somehow trying to listen harder for the sound of the first musical note. This time, I surmise that I must wipe the screen from left to right, to turn toward the musical note and then move slowly, but carefully as there is ice in unexpected places. After releasing the chickens a second time I follow my plan, taking one step after the other, slowly as I walk over the ice and hear the sound of a thin crack. I collect the musical note and hear the sound of more chickens to be released for the second music note. Again, as I approach the chickens I try to keep track of the direction from which I hear the musical note pulsing. As I unlatch the chicken coop, I turn from left to right, and walk carefully and slowly toward the note, stopping in order to see if the note is closer or further away. I’m much closer so I move forward in the same direction. After collecting the note, I turn around to find the sparkling sound of the exit. I hear a snuffle hog in the distance and turn around until I can locate the sound between both ears. As soon as I can, I race to the exit. Upon completing the level I hear a wiping sound and some crunching as if someone is walking on ice. Suddenly I hear glass breaking after a pulling sound that I can only compare to a cork being pulled from a bottle. “Next in the palace of glass is Papa’s petting zoo. A palace of ice and snow with an appalling menagerie,” says Catherine Zeta-Jones.