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  -XS Main
  -Part 1 :: [07.21.03]
  -Part 2 :: [08.06.03]
  -Part 3 :: [11.22.03]
  -Part 4 :: [02.10.04]
  -Part 5 :: [07.14.04]
  -Part 6 :: [08.05.04]
  -Part 7 :: [10.12.04]
  -Part 8 :: [01.23.05]
  -Part 9 :: [05.24.05]
  -Part 10 :: [01.20.06]
  -Part 11 :: [10.12.07]
  -Part 12 :: [06.30.11]
  -Part 13 :: [02.17.12]


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"Alen, his character portrait indicating that he is an Important Person, offers to pummel Pahn himself so that maybe Teo will 'reward' him. So obsessed is Alen with gaining favors from Teo that he doesn't notice that he totally verbally emasculated the guy. Hello, your boss just got a whupping, don't imply that you could do better."
     -Jeanne, Suikoden Part 9




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Xenosaga : Part 1
By Sam
Posted 07.21.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Because I don't know one lick of German, and my only German-speaking friend is, fittingly, in Germany right now, I haven't been able to get a satisfactory translation of the subtitle of Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht. I've heard variations of "The Will That Makes" and "The Will to Power," so I'm going to simplify things and dub the game "The Power to Wank."

(This is not an invitation to send me email after email detailing the true meaning of the phrase. I don't care. Really. Please close your email programs now.)

It takes all of 0.5 seconds for me to become annoyed with this game--when I repeatedly try to select "New Game," nothing happens, until I remember that the circle button is the action button in this game, not X. After playing dozens of other RPGs that use the buttons the correct other way, it's a bit of a difficult adjustment. Luckily, I've recently been playing Final Fantasy VII, to my knowledge the only other RPG for the PSX or the PS2 that uses the same button configuration. But I'm still going to complain.

Technical difficulties overcome, we can now begin the game. In preparation for playing Xenosaga, I pour myself a nice cup of tea, settle back in my recliner, and place the controller on the floor. I won't be needing it for a little while, see.

Our story begins at a dusty archaeological site. The place: Lake Turkana, Kenya. The year: 20xx. ...What? 20xx? I don't really see the need to be vague and enigmatic in this instance. There are only 100 years in the 21st century--just freaking pick one. So in this crucial historic year of 20xx, a Dr. Masuda is supervising the search for some mysterious artifact. I know you're all on the edge of your seats. And it gets even more exciting from here! Masuda is making small talk with an assistant when another assistant shouts for him. Apparently they've found something near the lake. The doctor goes to check it out, and is shown a series of grooves and alien-looking shit that have been unearthed. There's a little hole in the middle of it that vaguely has the shape of a squared-off penis. That's a first for a videogame. Masuda kneels down to examine it, thinks for a moment, and then pulls out a piece of metal that matches the shape of the hole. How convenient. As soon as he places it inside the hole (*snicker*), things start happening. The ground shakes and something comes up from the bottom of the lake. A car crash or two is shown during this scene, just to spice up the action a bit. I wish I were joking.

Nope, no compensation in THIS game, no sir!
 

When everything's settled again, the diggers and Dr. Masuda look up at a large, spiky platform that's surfaced in the middle of the lake. A pathway, starting from the metal plate in the hole, leads out to it. None of them, amazingly, get any stupid ideas about running out there. And it's a good thing, because a moment later some golden and green light erupts from the platform. From the light a large golden version of the Penis Plate materializes and floats in midair. Everyone stares at it, more than likely feeling inadequate as they bask in its warm Golden Penisy glow. The Golden Penis Plate shoots its money shot (I could not make this up) into the sky, and over Lake Turkana it begins to rain. I promise not to make any comments about golden showers. Wait...shit.

Space. The text onscreen tells us it's now 4000 years later, which would make this the all-important year 60xx. Sigh. At this point the credits start to roll. The view goes from the stars and nebulae to a black computer screen. White text zooms across and down--it's a bootup screen. The "connection target" is something called "KOS-MOS," and the system administrator is a person named Shion Uzuki. She is instructed to sit down in something called the VR-2000. I'm riveted by all these random acronyms. The view is now of an ultra-modern lab setting. People in front of slick, sci-fi computer terminals, wearing very un-slick beige-accented unitards, are monitoring something or other. The camera pans behind the Unitard People to show a large black apparatus that looks--surprise, surprise--like a big penis.

The scene switches abruptly back to space, where another Golden Penis Plate is aimlessly floating. Back to the lab. On the side of the lab opposite the black phallus, there's a chunky red contraption with a leather dentist's chair in its center. I'm guessing this is the aforementioned VR-2000. But there's no time to concentrate on the machine, because our view is immediately redirected to a young woman's ass. She's wearing an outfit similar in color to those of the Unitard Lab Techs, but the female version is a skin-tight miniskirt-blouse set with black leggings. Just a hunch, but I think a man designed these uniforms. Miniskirt, aka Shion Uzuki, wiggles her way over to the VR-2000 and settles into the chair, making sure we get a good shot of her cleavage. This does not bode well for the rest of the game. The mechanisms of the VR-2000 fire up and lock Shion into position in the chair, securing a visor thingy over her eyes. A status screen on one of the computers, featuring a large "Vector Industries" logo, monitors Shion's physical status, and I half expect to see a readout of her measurements, the way things are going.

We get another random shot of the Golden Penis Plate, and of a large gun-metal gray ship near it. It's flanked by a host of other ships, all of which resemble--you'd better sit down, this may come as a shock--penises.

In the lab, from Shion's point-of-view, we get more computer readouts on whatever KOS-MOS is. I can't tell you what is said about KOS-MOS, because the text isn't exactly readable. Shion says out loud, "Commencing startup experiment. Open up an interconnection," which isn't all that noteworthy, but it is the first time any of the people in 60xx have spoken aloud, so I figured I should mention it. The Unitards take this as their cue to start jabbering technobabble. It's just like watching Star Trek, except the outfits are even uglier. Slow pan over the Big Black Phallus.

Time to see what's up with the Golden Penis Plate. A couple of men in large mechanical suits fly from the main ship toward it and hold it on either end of, er, its head. This is turning into a bizarre porno way too fast for my tastes. A man in a regular space suit floats to its base and touches it. In a flash of golden light, he disappears. Uh-oh. Apparently it's a Bad Idea to yanky the wanky.

 
'Boobs are functioning normally; I repeat: boobs are functioning normally.'

Shion's lab. More technobabble. "Proceeding with KOS-MOS body formation," a Unitard with a crew cut says. It turns out, as we see from the monitors, that KOS-MOS is humanoid. A skeletal map of KOS-MOS appears, and additional readouts and information appear in reference to parts of her face, and her boobs. I am not fucking kidding. There's a line to her breasts and everything. I can't read the relevant text, but I'm sure it says, "Perfect, perky C-cups."

After KOS-MOS' body is properly formed and lubed up with Hawaiian Tropic, the Unitards get on with constructing something called "Encephalon." Shion and the Unitards blather meaninglessly. The lead Unitard mentions the "NATARAJA connection system." I would start a Pretentious Religious Reference Count, but I think it would get into the quadruple digits before the game is over, so instead I'll just mark such references with a (!). This will be my indication that I have just been hit on the head with the Religious Tack Hammer of Doom.

Insert "cock ring" joke here.
 

One more scene shift to the Golden Penis Plate. Now lots more men in mechanical suits are flying at it. We see one activate a gadget that unleashes a beam of light; upon zooming out we can see all of them doing the same, until they form a series of rings around the GPP. It is transferred to the large ship thus. It and the penis-ships go into hyperspace. It isn't explicitly stated, but it doesn't take a h4rDk0r3 sci-fi geek to know what hyperspace entrance is supposed to look like.

Once Encephalon and NATARAJA are all ready to go, Shion enters her name and password, the latter of which is "Ye shall be as gods" (!). The program starts up via a flash of blue light. Evidently Encephalon is a virtual reality of sorts, because the next thing we see is a run-down warehouse area from Shion's POV, except it's staticky and flickering. "Allen," Shion says, finally revealing the name of the Lead Unitard, "there seems to be a problem with the visual field connection." Allen quickly fixes it for her.

Now here, I need to jump ahead a bit to explain something, if you'll forgive the out-of-place digression. Allen Ridgeley, we will soon see, is a gigantic fucking whiny wanker. The problem is, Allen is my father's name, and I am hesitant to attribute wankerhood to him, even indirectly. I like my dad. So Allen needs a nickname, and he needs it right now. I think on this matter for a good long time, and try to think of a name wankery enough to live up to Allen's personality. Then, as I watch an "I Love the '80s" special on VH1 for what feels like the millionth time, the perfect solution hits me. Allen will now be known as Corey Feldman.

Back to Shion in Virtual Reality Land. Still from her POV, we now see a leggy girl with Mary Sue-ishly long neon blue hair. She has a large visor on her head that hides her eyes. This, duh, is KOS-MOS. Shion approaches her with a casual "Morning, KOS-MOS," which seems like nothing but actually turns out to be Something. Don't worry about it for now. She asks KOS-MOS how things are, and KOS-MOS replies in her robotic tone that she is just peachy. "Well," Shion continues, "how about introducing yourself?" She fails to add, "For the folks at home, since the writers are lazy and couldn't think of a better way to explain who and what you are." But KOS-MOS apparently understands the implication, because she complies without hesitation. I admire KOS-MOS' succinctness in this scene, so I'll just let her do the talking: "I am an Anti-Gnosis Humanoid Fighting System, serial number 00-00-00-00-1. [That's supposed to be their clever way of telling us KOS-MOS is a prototype. Those zany writers!] Development name KP-X. Abbreviated name KOS-MOS." I know you don't know what Gnosis are or what all those scary letters mean, and I sympathize, I really do. So let's pare it down to this: she kills monsters. Why she needs the blue hair, the sexy legs or the perky boobs to perform this task, we will never know.

Exposition!KOS-MOS starts to go into more detail about her hardware, and thankfully not in a sexual way. Shion cuts her off, even though she's the one who initiated all this dull information-sharing. But it's Shion's Time to Talk, so KOS-MOS has to shut up now. Shion explains that they're just running some routine tests, and she'll have to "go back to sleep" once they're through. KOS-MOS clearly doesn't give a flying fuck about any of this, so she's all, "I see."

"Do you feel sad...or anything?" Shion then asks the cold, emotionless android. So Shion's a big liar--the purpose of this isn't to do startup tests at all. It's to allow Shion to ask KOS-MOS wanky questions about feelings. KOS-MOS says as much, but uses the opportunity to slip in more exposition: "In order to better facilitate a relationship with you--Chief Engineer Shion Uzuki of the KOS-MOS Project, Vector Industries First R&D Division--I will emit an expression such as sadness, only when that response is deemed necessary. However, the emotional module of my program has determined that this is not necessary at this time." Shion giggles, making me wonder what joke I missed. Then I get the joke--Shion is an idiot. Now that's funny.

 
The difference between what you should and what you do know is wider than the Valles Marineris.

Not really caring what KOS-MOS herself thinks, Shion launches into some wanksty ME ME ME-ing. It boils down to this: she likes her fancy-pants lesbian robot. Hell, who wouldn't want one of those to call their own? "On the other hand, the next time you wake up...it may be a time of much bloodshed," she over-dramatizes. "So deep down inside, I hope that day never comes.... Understand?" KOS-MOS, at this early stage of the game, endears herself to me forever by giving Shion a verbal smackdown: "The algorithms I have been programmed with do not support the comprehension of illogical human thought." Take that, wanker!

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