rhoda_rants (rhoda_rants) wrote in _crisiscore_,

Crisis Core Recap: Episodes 1 & 2

Hello! New fan here. I just discovered FF7 a couple weeks ago (I was vaguely aware of it before that, but never followed the fandom) and have become utterly enthralled. I don't have a gaming system, and as such I tend to "watch" videogames with particularly epic storylines as opposed to playing them. I've long seen them as overlooked methods of storytelling, and Final Fantasy on the whole is a glorious example of that.

So I'm starting with Crisis Core and doing recaps in "Episodes," using what I can glean from YouTube walkthroughs--mostly cutscenes, so I'm missing a handful of details I think--but I try to make it work. (I prefer the Japanese audio with English subtitles, so those are the ones I've been following.)

Just FYI: I have now watched this game through to its conclusion, so I'm not worried about spoilers, but I'm keeping the recaps with as many of my initial reactions as possible. I haven't yet seen the original FF7 or "Advent Children," so do please try not to spoil me for those two.

Warnings: Mild language, spoilers

Cross-posted here to ff7

EPISODE 1: "Meet Zack Fair, 2nd Class SOLDIER"

Player/protagonist Zack Fair drops onto a train that's been shanghai'd by Wutai soldiers. Shin-Ra and Wutai have been at war for an unspecified number of years, and Zack is a member of the elite special ops team called simply SOLDIER. His mission? Take back control of the train and lay some katana on the mooks. Except they seem to be dressed like Shin-Ra army guys. What's up with that?

Angeal [1st class SOLDIER/Zack's main mentor]: They're in disguise. They're really Wutai.

Okay. I'm already suspicious. Well done. A train stop and a few more mooks later, Zack's mission is cut short by the sudden appearance of Sephiroth--he of the ridiculously long hair, wicked-sharp sword, and awesome boots--who attacks him from behind and cuts his sword in half. Angeal comes to the rescue, naturally, and aborts the mission. And here's where it gets real weird: the mission was a training module in this game's incarnation of the X-Men's "Danger Room." Sephiroth was not there, and was not part of the program. Zack's sword, however, is still cut in half.

Note to Self: Sephiroth is the Big Bad in the original game, of which this is a prequel, and in the movie, "Advent Children." Here, he's a highly respected 1st Class Soldier and "Hero"--one chosen to guard and protect pretty much the whole world. This is my first encounter with him.

Angeal: No more training for you. You suck at focusing.

Zack: But--

Angeal: If you want to be a 1st Class SOLDIER, you need two things: Pride and a Dream.

(If Zack happens forget that at any point during this game, no worries--Angeal repeats this mantra ad infinitum pretty much every time he appears.)

So when he gets back to SOLDIER headquarters, Zack gets a proper mission for the first time: 1st Class SOLDIER, Genesis, went missing during a mission in Wutai. Zack needs to go investigate and try to track him down. He's not the only one who's gone, by the way--a sizeable chunk of the force has inexplicably gone missing. For some reason the higher ups are most concerned about Genesis. Angeal goes too, and tells Zack a story about stealing apples from the orchards in the town where he grew up--except from the mayor's house, because his best friend was the mayor's son.

Zack: So, if he was your friend, why didn't you just ask for apples from that tree?

Angael: Pride's funny that way.

FYI: Translations do not agree. I've also seen "pride" translated as "honor." Not sure which one is closer.

Zack: What does this have to do with me becoming a 1st class SOLDIER?

I was wondering that too. But Angeal just walks away and laughs at him, so . . . nothing, I guess?

EPISODE 2: Betrayal and Human Cloning

Here we find out why Angeal hardly ever uses that buster sword he's been carrying around: "It would get dirty, worn, and rusted." Dude. Just hang it on a wall or something. No fair carting around a BFS and not using it. But he makes up for this weird-ass speech later by saving Zack's life with said buster sword.

A few mooks later, still no Genesis, and Zack runs smack into a Summon Creature in the forest at the edge of Wutai.

Note to Self: a Summon Creature is a giant dragon hybrid thing, and when they're "summoned," the player gets sucked into this transdimensional portal, fights, hopefully wins, and then returns back to the real world.

When Zack gets back, Angeal has disappeared. Sephiroth shows up and pulls the masks off a couple of the felled fighters: both have Genesis' face. They're clones. And also, Zack's been betrayed. Angeal ran off with Genesis on his own.

Zack: But I know Angeal! He wouldn't do this to me!

Sephiroth just gives him a Look, and well, yeah. Apparently, yes he would.

Next mission, Zack: let's try the village where Genesis grew up. His parents say he hasn't been there in years, but the SOLDIER mission control folks think they're covering up for him. Originally, Sephiroth was supposed to have this mission, but he turned it down, and everyone else is still missing--which now includes Angeal, by the way. But he has to take this guy Tseng, one of the Turks, with him, for note-taking or something--I don't know.

Note to Self: The Turks also work for Shin-Ra. They're the high-tech investigative force to SOLDIER's pure brawn, like the CIA versus the SWAT team.

So guess what's in the village when they get there? More Genesis clones, plus some kind of war machine thing--both of which point to technology stolen from SOLDIER headquarters. Also--there's a very unique looking apple tree in this village.

Zack: Who did you say Genesis's parents were again?

Tseng: The landlords here.

This translation is apparently using "mayor" and "landlord" interchangeably, because now Zack puts two and two together and realizes: Genesis was the childhood best friend Angeal told him about, and this was the village. Suddenly it's not so surprising that Angeal took off after him.

Tseng: I bet that's why Sephiroth didn't want to come. He was best friends with those two when they were growing up. He probably didn't want to face them like this.

So, Tseng decides to investigate a fresh-looking grave, while Zack tracks down Angeal's mother and goes in to grill her about the 1st Class deserters' whereabouts.

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