So I've just discovered FF7, and Crisis Core in particular caught my attention. I don't know what inspired me to start recapping it in "episodes," but I'm starting at the beginning and going through one ten-minute segment at a time.
I'm also fishing for one of y'all FF veterans to help me figure out exactly who and what these people are, because the English translations don't always agree, and there are a *lot* of gaps in my knowledge at this point.
AN: My 'FYI's are really just notes to myself of what I think is going on here, to see if I'm keeping the story and characters straight.
ETA: Now cross-posted to _crisiscore_.
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: train, platform, mooks and cityscape all dissolve into pixels and disappear, leaving behind an empty gray room with numbers and buttons. 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.
FYI: 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.
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 on the way he 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. It's either "pride" or "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.
FYI: 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.
FYI: The Turks have some kind of turf war going on with SOLDIER, but it's not a violent rivalry. More of a jurisdiction thing, like the FBI versus the CIA. They don't enjoy working together, but they put up with it in this context because their numbers have dwindled so much.
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.
ETA: editing the post title for clarity