It’s finally here! The very reason why the PSP must exist in this world.
The excitement was hard to contain as I held my PSP with trembling hands, waiting for the UMD to load (which is slow, as usual, despite the firmware upgrade).
The game opened with an aerial view of a hijacked train charging along the tracks at top speed and Shinra helicopters chasing over it. A soldier stands ready, crouching a little in anticipation as the pilot begins counting down… 3, 2, 1, MARK…MISSION START! The side hatch of the helicopter opens and our hero appears! Ta-daaa-It’s Zacks Fair!
When I heard him say 「りょ~~うか~い♪」upon receiving the order, I knew this character’s going to be the brash, playful and naive punk who looks for trouble. Anyway, the opening can be seen on youtube.
Now, time to work my thumbs and forefingers.
Usually, RPG games are a relaxing affair where all one has to do is decide, select and confirm during battles. Characters can be ‘farmed’ (leveling up) by going to the same dungeons and battle with the player’s eyes closed. Not much to worry about except HP and MP.
Zacks makes the player’s fingers work extra hard in this case. It is necessary for one to be skilful in toggling the L/R buttons to select materia or items.
During battle, one just has to punch the O button furiously to kill the enemy, toggle the L/R buttons to select materia or items and press the □button to withstand or dodge an attack and run circles around the enemy. Dodging an attack can be a little tricky especially when the enemy covers 2/3 of the screen while Zacks stands behind it hacking at its butt.
And then there’s the DMW(Digital Mind Wave) system, which I still have no clue whether it can be controlled. In the middle of the battle, Zacks may enter into a 「Modulating Phase」 where a screen appears, resembling a jackpot machine. It’s highly random and the results will yield different outcomes such as unlimited MP, unlimited AP,increased HP and even level up! Any slot that has a number ‘7’ and of the same character will usually result in an attack sequence and unlimited MP/AP/HP. Getting the same character for all 3 slots gives Zacks a healthy dose of Power Surge.
It’s a well-balanced action RPG game which doesn’t make one go to sleep from the typical RPG battle cycle (decide-select-confirm). Nor does it give the high-strung player fractured thumbs from punching buttons furiously in an exciting action game.
What I like best is the movies which the producers reward the player with.
And of course, バカ犬Zacks.
When Angeal told Zacks that he had recommended him to be promoted to 1st Class, Zacks was so happy that he rushed forward, hugged Angeal and said 「アーーーンジーーーール!大好きだ アンジール!おっぐっは!」as Angeal pushed him away.
In the 1st mission with Angeal to take down the Wutai terrorist group, while crouching outside the gates of Wutai and waiting for the explosion, Angeal wondered who should enter the Wutai grounds. Zacks, in crouching position, started pointing his finger towards himself and going 「んで？んで？んで？」
After beating down all the Wutai soldiers, Zacks approached the main hall but was stopped in his tracks by a little girl, ウータイ最強の戦士,Yuffie! She warned him that she’s armed with the most powerful martial skills of Wutai and that she’s going to take the baddie Shinra soldier down. Zacks stared at Yuffie and then told her to go home.
Yuffie told Zacks to take a hike as she executed multiple punches at air.
Zacks continued to stare at her as she stomped her right foot and punched the air between her and Zacks
Zacks 「… …」
Then Zacks fell to the ground on one knee in front of Yuffie, groaning.
Zacks really has a way with kids…
After Yuffie left (satisfied that the Shinra soldier is defeated by her air punches), Zacks proceeds to the main hall of Wutai where 2 bosses are waiting. It’s rather easy to beat although both their fat arses take up almost half of the screen. After getting Conflict Resolved, the game moves into a movie sequence. Zacks apparently had not done a clean job as the monster got up and whupped him onto a pillar. Ouch.
Angeal had to come and save his butt and Zacks was sorry that Angeal had to use his beloved buster sword to hack the monster in half. Angeal told him his subordinate is more important than the sword… only by a small margin(smile). It’s a very heartwarming moment.
Then Angeal offered his hand to Zacks. Zacks looks up, stunned, and then smiled like an eager puppy (I swear I could almost hear him pant).
After leaving the Wutai grounds, Zacks, Angeal and Lazard were ambushed by enemy soldiers which were not from Wutai. Angeal ordered Zacks to escort Lazard to safety while he took on the enemies. After ensuring Lazard was in safe hands, Zacks rushed back to the area where he left Angeal.
Immediately, I came to a Save Point. There’s a good reason why it’s there.
Zacks arrived at the spot where he left Angeal. Suddenly, an ifrit was summoned by someone and Zacks found himself standing in front of a flaming ogre, three times taller than him.
I managed to defeat this flaming piece of shit after ‘game over’ twice. Again, Zacks did not do a clean job with this monster either and his idol, Sephiroth came to his rescue!
Zacks 「すげぇ！」 ワンワン！
Sephiroth examined the enemy soldiers that had earlier ambushed Angeal and Zacks. Removing the helmets, Zacks is shocked to find that they are clones of Genesis, the missing 1st Class soldier. Sephiroth warned Zacks that Angeal had joined Genesis and betrayed everyone. Of course loyal Zacks refused to believe it.
But months later, there’s still no sign of Angeal.
Zacks is doing his squats again until the next mission. This time, he is partnered with Tseng (from Before Crisis) … whom I think Zacks does not have any chemistry with.
Instead of getting killed too soon, I let Zacks out of Shinra to explore the city.
He meets 3 women, each of them a fan to Angeal, Sephiroth and Genesis rexpectively. Each of them invites Zacks to join the fanclub of the respective 1st Class soldier.
I made Zacks join Angeal’s fanclub 「森林の会」 and immediately, he receives an email from the fanclub.
I nearly spewed blood when I read the email.
It’s a profile of Angeal and guess what his hobby is…