Heading out of town the other side, Tseng called us to a cliff side which overlooked a factory just outside of town. It seemed Genesis’ forces were using the factory as a base, and Tseng ordered us to “attack from above” rather than approach through the front doors like an idiot. You know, like in the last mission. And every other mission in the game. Tseng may be a trifle bit better at the whole “tactics” thing than Zack, I think. Around this point in the game, we received a company-wide email from Lazard, talking vaguely about an “unspeakably tragic incident” (presumably the defections at large) and babbling somewhat incomprehensibly about biological and non-biological ties leading to “ill-blood,” and trying to focus on risk prevention in the future.
Arriving at the cliff side, we found Tseng waiting for us, and he explained what he had found in the graves: Genesis had killed his own parents. He also explained that Sephiroth had hand-picked Zack to complete the mission, but also that he had refused the mission mainly so that he wouldn’t have to fight his friend, Genesis. It seems all three of these SOLDIERs 1st class central to our plot were good buddies before Genesis disappeared. In return for this information, Zack reported that he hadn’t found Angeal… subtly scrubbing out the fact that he had encountered Angeal’s mother so that Tseng wouldn’t know about it. Zack also urged Tseng to let him talk to Angeal, should they encounter him, in hopes that he could talk Angeal back to their side.
After having broken into the factory, we discovered that the factory was being used to make the Genesis Copies. It’s not clear if the factory was used to make every Genesis Copy encountered across the entire game, and I doubt it was because that would be a little excessive… but if not here, then where did he do it? Tseng later explains that he discovered his subordinates sent to spy on the village had been killed around a month ago, which somehow implies that Genesis not only did all his cloning in about a month, but somehow made all the actual good clones first so that only shitty ones were left to defend the factory today?
In a cutaway, we finally got our introduction to the famous Genesis, who was lazing around reading his copy of LOVELESS. In the English version, Genesis’ voice actor is one Oliver Quinn, who is known only for this role. In fact, it’s his only role, unless IMDb is correct about his one additional credit: an appearance in pseudo-reality show The Anna Nicole Show in 2002, where he was a private chef… as in, Oliver Quinn may actually be a private chef, not just an actor who played one in 2002. Given the bizarre nature of The Anna Nicole Show, it’s hard for me to say this for certain, but it could be that “chef” really was his day job in 2002, if not 2007 or even today! In the Japanese version, Genesis’ voice actor is actually Gackt, a musician who provided the theme songs of Dirge of Cerberus, and we’ll probably discuss why he was attached to the role of Genesis in the DoC Journal.
Zack and Tseng arrived on scene to discover Genesis. A long story short, Genesis declared that his parents had somehow “betrayed” him, “from the very beginning,” and he lashed out at Tseng with a Fire spell. Before Zack could step in, Angeal arrived on the scene, carrying his Buster Sword yet again. Angeal also stole Zack’s sword to prevent Zack from interfering (and so that he could use Zack’s sword to keep from spoiling the Buster Sword, I suppose), and he used it to hold Genesis at swordpoint. So Angeal isn’t a defector? It seemed this was news to Genesis too, as he implied that Angeal was turning down an offer of partnership, but after Genesis casually left the room without Angeal stopping him (why Angeal allows this isn’t ever explained), Angeal revealed he wasn’t siding with Zack and Shinra either, pushing Zack aside and forcing him to stay behind.
While there was a brief chase, Zack and Tseng eventually reunited in the building’s main room, where Tseng suddenly announced that “evidence of misconduct must be erased. Company rules.” The town, whatever its secrets, would be taken out by aerial strike. This is interesting but also incredibly contrived, with no indication as to why the airstrike would take place now instead of any other time, especially once you realize that Tseng seems to have no hope or plans to kill Genesis with the airstrike. Presumably, Tseng just called this information in, but why didn’t he say: “Zack can still try to kill Genesis, and considering that was your original orders, surely it has to be more important than blowing up this village right away as opposed to just a few minutes later”?
In any event, Tseng passive-aggressively suggested that Zack rescue Angeal’s mother, revealing that he suspected that Zack had lied about her by omission. Nice try, Zack, but you’re dealing with a professional liar here. Unfortunately, we were cut off from our rescue by a rogue mini-game, and a pretty goofy one. The level of nonsense involved in this minigame is probably the thickest it ever is in this game. It’s pretty rare to look at a sliver of a game and say “It can’t get any worse than this” on your first encounter, but lemme tell you, this minigame fucking nailed it.
Essentially, some of Genesis’ troops began to fire missiles at the town. Okay, first off: if it weren’t for Zack trying to save Angeal’s mother, the idea Genesis bombarding the town when Shinra is about to flatten the whole place from the sky thirty seconds later would be laughable, and the fact that you’re trying to rescue Angeal’s mother only improves the situation a little, meaning I’m likely to start laughing at the very next sign of wackiness. And wouldn’t you know, here’s the wackiness: Tseng has to call Zack on the phone so they can have a casual conversation and tutorial over the phone before the rockets come streaking past. Next, all the bombardment comes directly past Zack, which means they’re firing from very far away, in a very particular direction. Also, I’m certain the path they’re shooting down snakes towards town instead of being a straight shot. Oh. and town is surrounded by video game canyon walls they could have been shooting from.
In any event, we come to the actual mechanics of the minigame: Zack is going to slash the missiles in half in mid-air with his sword. And not only is he going to do it, but Tseng orders him to do it as though missile slashing was established company policy. I can’t decide if I love or hate this sequence, it’s perfect nonsense.
Your results in the game determine an unusual prize: it gives you more time in the next minigame! This makes it harder for you to want to reset the sequence if you do only moderately well, because who wants to replay multiple minigames just to maybe get better results (this sequence is heavily reminiscent of a mechanic from Kingdom Hearts 2’s storyline “Struggle” tournament, come to think of it)? In this second “minigame,” Zack has to hurry to reach Angeal’s mother before the Shinra airstrike, but he can also visit a number of marked spots on the road to and inside the village, each of which hides an item. But there’s an infuriating footnote: each of these marked spots was only collectible if you examined them earlier in the chapter, which was something that Kyle and I had given up on after the first or second hotspot, because the wretched things all produce the same aimless text box and we didn’t think we were accomplishing anything! This meant that we were “rewarded” with nothing at all! Okay, I made up my mind, I’m angry at this game again.
Unfortunately, after these minigames, we got to the house only to find Angeal’s mother dead, apparently killed by Angeal himself. Angeal was on the scene, saying that his mother could no longer “continue to live and neither could the son.” Zack was flabbergasted and punched Angeal on the spot, not sure what else to do or say. Genesis was also on scene, and by his words and actions he seemed to imply that Angeal had reluctantly joined Genesis in the past few minutes. I’m sad to say that, as far as the game is concerned, we learn very little about Angeal’s mother, especially her strange statement about Genesis not being able to kill her. We will get part of her story, but it wasn’t until I was looking up her entry on the FFWiki that they filled in the blanks with information from the game’s official guide. Great job as usual, Square. Just… fucking fantastic.
(By the way, we never get an explanation for why Genesis ordered the city bombarded if there were reasons he outright “could not” kill Angeal’s mother. That remains a plot hole.)
As Angeal walked off, Genesis childishly tripped Zack and then began to quote LOVELESS, which prompted Zack to shout at him to shut up. This was truly hilarious to Kyle at the time, and looking back at it now, it is to me too, since Genesis will spend the entire game quoting this damned play and Zack is the only one to ever tell him to shut his mouth about it. If only for a few short moments, Zack is truly the voice of the audience. Genesis remarked that he was disappointed that Sephiroth hadn’t come to take him out, and he decided to leave a Summon to deal with Zack instead of killing him, implying that he was the one who Summoned Ifrit earlier. At the time, I was going to chastise Genesis for doing the usual cliché “walk away and leave the minions to deal with it,” but as it happens, he Summons nothing short of Bahamut, so maybe he can be excused.
But don’t get too excited, FF veterans! For reasons unknown to me, FFVII actually has multiple versions of Bahamut, and the original is the weakest of the set. And in any event, we were still overpowered as fuck, and could apparently Guard against Mega Flare (hilarious), defeating the king of dragons like he was a some harmless Wutai recruit. After the battle, Zack shouted that “Summons aren’t meant to be used like this!” followed by a seemingly unrelated complaint: “What happened to dreams and honour?” It’s not clear what Zack’s supposed to mean. I can understand the latter line as a standalone given the situation at large, but what about the first? My initial reaction was to overthink this: I figured it was a reference to how Genesis was using Summons that behaved autonomously while Zack and the FFVII crew use them like Summons for a single attack, like in all previous games. Maybe letting them out autonomously is… dangerous?
It just so happens that I got the real answer while working on this Journal. You see, I often keep a script open while I’m doing these things to keep me reminded of minor details. For Crisis Core, however, the only script I could find was Silent Tweak’s translation of the original Japanese release, which can be found here.
Silent Tweak’s translation of the line says: “How could you use a summon creature? What happened to your pride as a SOLDIER?” Ah, now I see. The second line is a direct continuation of the first, which was heavily changed in the English version, which makes me feel comfortable that Silent Tweak’s translation is accurate to the original, and thank you for that! And after a few minutes thinking about it, you probably realize why it was changed: because it doesn’t make any goddamned sense. Japanese-original Zack seems to be complaining about the fact that Genesis is using a Summon at all, implying that it’s dishonourable. But let’s not forget that Zack does the exact same thing! And so will the cast of FFVII, if you’re concerned about their honour! The line is super confusing in the Japanese original, to such a degree that even the mildly confusing official English translation seems like an improvement in comparison.
In response to these nonsense lines, Genesis declares that “We are… monsters,” and reveals that he has been hiding a single black wing on his left side. He concludes that “We have neither dreams nor honour” and flies off (you can fly with one wing in Final Fantasy, and I doubt anyone is surprised), leaving Zack to the air strike, which, being a superhero, he survives handily, muttering about SOLDIER not being monsters despite two people telling him the same thing in one day. He looks back at Banora as the dumbapples symbolically burn.