Final Fantasy VII : Part 1
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This is my very first recap in what I hope will be many. I decided to start with Final Fantasy VII, because so many people started their whole RPG experience with Final Fantasy VII. Or maybe I just wanted to start with the earliest FF game I could, without hooking up the damn SNES. I'm lazy.
Speaking of lazy, I had three hours worth of games taped on my VCR without realizing that I was taping some dumb show off the TV. Whoops. I'm trying to be thorough, but forgive me if I decided to skip some things this second time around.
With that intro out of the way, I present my very first recap.
Stars. Lots of stars. We're in outer space for what seems like ten minutes. There's some really faint choral music, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this "scene" is going on and on and on. I think the programmers were just playing with their new 3D gaming toy. I don't blame them. I was pretty damn impressed the first time I saw this. But enough is enough.
The stars transform into some green bubbly liquid, which means nothing to us now, but trust me, it turns out to be Very Profound. A girl's face appears in the green. I was very impressed the first time I saw this, too, but don't get your hopes up because the rest of the game doesn't look this good.
The girl stands up. She's wearing a long pink dress and carrying a basket of flowers. She starts walking as the camera pans out to show us a really cool city. It's all dark and stuff. From this point on, I will refer to this FMV style, with the more "realistic" looking (ie-non-boxy) characters as Good FMV Style, or GFS for short.
Music, big circular city, etc. The music builds to a MIDI cymbal crash as the Final Fantasy VII logo appears. Folks, this marks the beginning of the movie style games. I know this was a very depressing moment for some of you "old schoolers", but try to get over it.
The camera plays around a bit more and then focuses on a train. The music turns all urgent and battle-y. It's time to meet our main character.
A bunch of blocky polygon people jump off the train and beat up the blocky polygon guards. There's some big black dude that looks like Mr. T, and a blue-suited guy whose hair makes him look like a blond unicorn. His arms are really gross-looking because they appear to be two blocks joined together by a really skinny skin-colored piece. Don't even bother getting all upset and telling me that the characters looked really revolutionary at the time. Even when I first played it four years ago, I thought they looked crappy. So there.
Blond Unicorn Man follows Mr. T a little hesitantly. Mainly because it's difficult to get used to the controls after playing the analog for so long (curse you FF7, and your non-analog compatibility) and being used to automatically running, rather than having to hold down the damn X button to run (grr).
Some guards attack Blond Unicorn Man, and we see our first battle. Suddenly, it seems that our hero, instead of being a random collection of crappy-looking blocks, is now taller, more detailed, and actually looks halfway decent. I shall henceforth call these two styles Crappy Blocky Polygon Style (CBPS) and Neato Battle Style (NBS). Refer to the FF7 FAQ if you get confused.
Blond Unicorn Man, who is referred to in the battle screen as "Ex-SOLDIER" wins the battle with his Big Sword, swings said Big Sword around, and then we go back to CBPS (sigh).
Then Ex-SOLDIER Blond Unicorn goes to join his comrades. Mr. T is nowhere to be seen, but there are three others to deliver some very stilted and bad exposition. I seriously can't figure this out no matter how many times I play. Here is an example of the dialogue:
Biggs (to our hero): Wow! You used to be in SOLDIER all right! ...Not everyday ya find one in a group like AVALANCHE.
[I guess all the important groups have names that are ALL IN CAPS.]
Jessie (token chick): SOLDIER? Aren't they the enemy? What's he doing with us in AVALANCHE?
[Um, wouldn't she know this already? Okay, so maybe he joined the group suddenly and no one knows what the hell his deal is yet. Let's operate under that assumption for now.]
Biggs: Hold it Jesse, he WAS in SOLDIER. He quit them and now is one of us.
[Hence the name "Ex-SOLDIER". Oh wait, these characters can't see the battle screen. Moving on.]
Biggs: Didn't catch your name...
This whole exchange was dumb on levels that I won't even pick apart anymore, so let's just assume that everyone in this game is just a blithering idiot.
I get to name our hero now. I decide to name him "Bitch" on account of the fact that he's supposed to be all tough and badass, but if he got thrown in prison, you just know he'd be someone's prison bitch before you could say "Don't drop the soap."
Bitch introduces himself, but then proves that he's a badass by telling everyone else that he doesn't care about them or what their names are. I know I'm impressed.
Suddenly Mr. T runs up and chews everyone out for hanging around talking. Looks like AVALANCHE isn't the most professional of operations. Good thing they've got Bitch the Ex-SOLDIER around. Apparently the target is the "North Mako Reactor," whatever the hell that may be, so Bitch and company continue on their way.
The next couple parts are populated with what I shall call "Controller Dialogue", which is the non-sensical lines the characters speak when they are actually "secretly" telling the player how to operate the controls. Here, Mr. T tells Bitch to press the cancel button to run.
As Bitch presses the cancel button and runs toward the reactor, the music changes, appropriately, to the Mako Reactor music. It's all foreboding and stuff. The reactor scenery is pretty cool, even with those CBPS characters skittering all over it.